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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on January 9th, 2013 at 3:09 am

Are Political Dynasties An Asian Thing?

» by in: Politics-US

That is what the Japan Times is asking:

To the extent that culture matters in politics, the recent spate of leadership changes in Northeast Asia suggests that Asian societies are more tolerant — if not supportive — of dynastic succession.

South Korea’s recently elected president, Park Geun Hye, is the daughter of Park Chung Hee, who ruled the country from 1961 to 1979.

China’s incoming president, Xi Jinping, is the son of Xi Zhongxun, a former vice premier.

Japan’s new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is the grandson and grandnephew of two former Japanese prime ministers, and the son of a former foreign minister.

Kim Jong Un is the son and grandson of his two predecessors in North Korea.

This pattern is not confined to Northeast Asia. President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines is the son of former President Corazon Aquino.

Prime Ministers Najib Abdul Razak and Lee Hsien Loong of Malaysia and Singapore, respectively, are also sons of former prime ministers.

In India, Rahul Gandhi is waiting in the wings, preparing to step into the shoes of his great-grandfather (Jawaharlal Nehru), grandmother (Indira Gandhi), and father (Rajiv Gandhi).

In Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari — son of President Asif Ali Zardari and the assassinated former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, and grandson of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — recently made his political debut.

Is dynastic succession becoming the norm throughout Asia?  [Japan Times]

You can read the rest at the link, but I think political dynasties are hardly an Asian thing considering the US has both the Kennedy and Bush political dynasties.  It is arguable that the Clinton’s are a political dynasty as well, especially of Chelsea gets involved in politics.  Can anyone else think of other political dynasties to rival those in Asia?

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  • kangaji
    5:23 am on January 9th, 2013 1

    I agree it is more normal in Asia, and it doesn’t just include politics but successors to conglomerates as well. I believe it’s a symptom of power being concentrated in the hands of too few people. Of course, I believe Virginia would have eventually been ruled by the Lee Dynasty if they had beaten back the Northern aggressors.

  • Setnaffa
    5:47 am on January 9th, 2013 2

    Because Japan sees no difference between elected leaders in democracies and their Emperor? :???:

  • Fanwarrior
    6:44 am on January 9th, 2013 3

    wow..Bush anyone?
    The last mayor of chicago?
    The strong possibility that the clintons will be back in the white house?

    I’m sure if you went digging through politics world wide you’d find tons of examples of this. Especially in smaller areas where one particular person serves well for a long time, their off spring are likely to enjoy some good will and votes because of that.

    What the Japan Times should be asking is where can we hire more intelligent reporters?

  • PCoy
    8:03 am on January 9th, 2013 4

    How long have dynasties been a part of Asian history? How many dynasties has China had in it’s history and how old is America?

    How many “American dynasties” were/are dynastic like Asian ones? A father and son who both became president, with terms separated by eight years and the Kennedy clan who had one and only one family member become president is a dynasty like that seen in Asia?

    Please, these families maybe rich, but hardly compable to comparable to the history of Asian dynasties. How many dynasties has China had, for how long compared to that of the US?

    How many US and Western corporations that are the same as chaebols exist todayin the here and now?

    And save the conspiracy bullshit please.

  • Glans
    10:47 am on January 9th, 2013 5

    George W Bush’s “dynastic” connections got back even further. His mother, Barbara Pierce Bush, “is the fourth cousin, four times removed, and the second cousin, five times removed, of President Franklin Pierce.” That’s from her Wikipedia article. Franklin Pierce was President 1853 – 1857.

  • Jack
    11:30 am on January 9th, 2013 6

    Not sure about dynasties, but I cannot think of any father-daugher ruling pairs outside of Asia. It’s happened in Indonesia (Sukarnos), Pakistan (Bhuttos) India (Nehru-Gandhi), the Philippines (Magapagal-Arroyo) and now Korea.

  • John in LA
    12:53 pm on January 9th, 2013 7

    Please let’s not try to bring up the Park family story. She won the election fair and square.

  • Fanwarrior
    5:31 pm on January 9th, 2013 8

    #4 you mean like European Monarchies?
    It wasn’t that long ago (in history, not our life times) that most european countries were all ruled by long time families.

    Of course Asia will have a longer history of dynasties because they have a longer history than the US or Canada, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t see the same kind of thing in western countries, both at a federal and municipal level (and more so at a municipal level) Just take the time to google thing like father son mayor, governor, etc.

  • Anon
    6:42 pm on January 9th, 2013 9

    It’s called people are stupid and democrocy doesnt work if you have to be in certain circles to be elected. Even Arnlod had to use the Kennedy connection via his wife to get elected in California. What about 2016, it’s already being predicted that it will be Hillary vs Jeb. As far as the way things look in the USA I think its just a repeat of Roman hystory. Before the end of the republic abd when the Empire emerged, there were 3 houses that Had almost complete influence. Until One one out and established an Emperor

  • Hume's Bastard
    7:41 pm on January 9th, 2013 10

    There’s a long tradition in sociology and political theory about elites. I’m surprised no one learned about Robert Michels’ “iron law of oligarchy” as an undergrad. C. Wright Mills also contributed to the study of elites. And, last year, Chris Hayes wrote a book called “Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy”. The only question is, what argument in an academic and popularized lake of a research tradition do you accept? East Asia has finally developed and stayed developed long enough, to provide data.

  • Kuiwon
    8:12 pm on January 9th, 2013 11

    I’m not surprised about this development. It seems in world history people in power coming from oligarchies, aristocracies, monarchies, or any other hereditary chains is a common occurrence, whether there is democracy or not.

  • kushibo
    12:22 am on January 10th, 2013 12

    Bush41 and then Bush43…

    Bill Clinton and (almost in 2008 and possibly in 2016) Hillary Clinton…

    The Kennedys…

  • Teadrinker
    12:52 am on January 10th, 2013 13

    With the exception of Golda Meir, weren’t all of the women who have been elected to lead their country in Asia either the daughter of a former leader or his widow?

  • Tom
    6:24 am on January 10th, 2013 14

    :lol: man… talk about hypocrisy to the 10th degree.. you Americans are a funny. :lol:

  • kangaji
    6:38 am on January 10th, 2013 15

    #10: Huh, I got Mills from Sociology 101 and downloaded _Twilight of the Elites_ as an audiobook, but didn’t hear about the “Iron Law of Oligarchy” yet.


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