'The United States has had it easy over the past third of a century in regards to China. Washington has been able to proclaim moral superiority over the Communist Party dictatorship in Beijing, even as those very dictators provided Washington with a stable, businesslike relationship that fostered immense opportunities for American companies in China and for the American economy overall. China's rulers, ever since Deng Xiaoping consolidated power in 1978, may have been nominally communists, but they have also been professionals and technocrats who have ruled in a self-effacing, collegial style. Yes, they may oppress dissidents, but they have also been enlightened autocrats by the standards of the suffocating rulers who have governed in the Middle East.
But the purging of the pseudo populist boss of the megacity of Chongqing, Bo Xilai, may indicate that a less predictable period in Chinese politics lies ahead. Bo was something not seen in China since Mao Zedong: a leader with real charisma. Bo may indicate that the age of the technocrats will give way to the age of politicians -- and politicians, even in liberal democracies, exploit people's emotions. ...'