Trump, Putin and Bolsonaro have been complacent. Now the pandemic has made them all vulnerable
The world’s strongmen may well end up paying a political price for their cynicism and incompetence
If Boris Johnson is mishandling the pandemic, he is not alone. Falsely claiming everything is under control, dodging responsibility, hiding from public view, exploiting the crisis for political gain, mounting artificial distractions and blaming the media: these are common behaviour patterns exhibited by some of the world’s most powerful – and shifty – leaders.
Will they pay a price for their lethal incompetence and cynicism? It’s possible some will, though it may take a while. The pandemic is changing political calculations around the globe. Leaders who looked invulnerable suddenly appear less so. That in turn could shift the strategic calculus and alter the balance of power between countries in ways both unexpected and permanent.