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Wikileaks: Analyzing PM Meles Zenawis personality [full text]


Posted by Daniel Berhane on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 @ 5:42 am 7 Comments After working for about two years in Ethiopia, US Ambassador Donald Yamamoto felt strongly confident in his ability to analyze Meles Zenawis personality. The Ambassador wrote, in a leaked Cable of US Embassy Addis Ababa, dated March 27, 2009 and classified as Secret: After scores of meetings with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Post has strong confidence in our ability to infer Meless Myers-Briggs type. The methodology the Ambassador used, Myers-Briggs type Indicator (MBIT), was developed by Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs based on the influential theory of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung that is used to describe basic individual preferences and to explain similarities and differences between people. The main postulate of Jungs theory is that people have inborn behavioral tendencies and preferences. The MBTI tool is an indicator of personality type (i.e. innate preferences). It uses four dichotomies to identify preferences, which are then combined into one Type. The four dichotomies are: E-I (Extraversion Introversion)
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S I (Sensing Intuition) T-F (Thinking Feeling) J-P (Judging Perceiving) After analyzing Meles Zenawi based on this indicator, the Ambassador concluded We strongly believe that Meles is a strong ISTJ. that is; Introversion, Sensing, Thinking and Judging combination. As these terms are not used in their everyday meaning, we shall see the description of Meles Zenawis behavior together with the definition of the terms. The E- I (Extraversion Introversion) Dichotomy: Source of Energy. Most people who prefer Extraversion: Prefer action over reflection; May act quickly w/out thinking; Are attuned to external environments; Prefer to communicate by talking; Learn best through doing or discussing; Are sociable and expressive; Enjoy working in groups Most people who prefer Introversion: Prefer reflection over action; May not take action at all; Are attuned to inner world; Prefer to communicate in writing; Learn best through thorough mental practice and reflection; Are private and contained; Enjoy working alone or in pairs In this dichotomy, Meles Zenawi qualifies as a moderate-to-strong Introversion "I" type. The Ambassador explains: We have a high degree of confidence that Meles is a moderate-to-strong "I." He is quiet, deliberative, and certainly not a "man about town." We understand from direct engagements with him, and from those close to him, that he is a voracious reader and very introspective (both personally and about the country). While Meles certainly has to work the members of the ruling partys central committee, these are all long-time, very close friends. He thrives on one-on-one or small group discussions (such as with renown economists, talking about imperial Japanese history, or the U.S. founding fathers), while being far more reserved in larger groups (i.e. large CODEL groups, etc.). As such, we are highly confident of this "I" classification. S I (Sensing Intuition) Dichotomy: Take in Information Most people who prefer Sensing: Emphasize the pragmatic; Prefer facts & details/ specific information; Are oriented to present realities; Value realism; Observe and remember specifics through 5 senses; Build carefully and thoroughly to conclusions; Trust experience Most people who prefer Intuition: Emphasize the theoretical; Prefer general concepts/ high level plans; Are oriented to future possibilities; Value imagination; See trends and patterns in specific data; Use a sixth sense; Move quickly to conclusions, follow hunches; Trust inspiration Meles Zenawi is a strongly Sensing S type. That is because:

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Meles is a details man. He knows them inside and out, and he deploys them quickly and precisely to 2/10

Meles is a details man. He knows them inside and out, and he deploys them quickly and precisely to establish and defend his arguments. Whenever we raise concerns, he responds with highly nuanced and highly specific details to counter our arguments. He is particularly adept at using such details to counter points raised by senior USG (and presumably other foreign) officials. On numerous occasions we have observed Meles run circles around visitors who note general concerns by throwing out detailed responses. As some more senior USG visitors may not know all of the specific details regarding a particular dynamic they are asked to raise beyond what may be included in a two-page brief, their ability to offer a detailed retort can be limited or can lead them to stand down without countering Meless response. As such, we are again highly confident that Meles is an "S." T-F (Thinking Feeling) Dichotomy: Decision Making Most people who prefer Thinking: Are analytical; Use cause-and-effect reasoning; Solve problems with logic; Strive for objective standard of truth; Described as reasonable; Search for flaws in an argument; Fair want everyone treated Equally Most people who prefer Feeling: Empathetic; Guided by personal values; Assess impact of decisions on people; Strive for harmony and positive interactions; Described as compassionate; Search for point of agreement in an argument; Fair want everyone treated as an individual Meles Zenawi is a moderate-to-strong "T type. The Ambassador argues: We assess that Meles is likely a moderate-to-strong "T," but internal ruling party dynamics require him to operate skillfully as an "F" as well, which he does with aplomb. As with his deployment of details in presenting an argument, Meles conveys his analysis of internal, economic, and regional dynamics in a clear, logical way focused on ends/objectives far more than on values. While Meles does certainly still rely to a fair extent on "values" (particularly regarding the ideologies of revolutionary democracy and the developmental state), his thinking on these issues has evolved over the years, particularly after engagement with others (Sachs, Stiglitz, western governments, etc.) suggesting that when confronted with a detailed, logical, results-oriented argument he can move away from ideological dogma. A stronger argument for his "T"ness, is actually the argument against his "F"ness as evidenced by the rift within the TPLF in 2001. Meless absolute and near-visceral break from Seeye Abraha ) perhaps his best, closest, and oldest friend ) suggests that when push comes to shove, he is far more wedded to tasks/ends than interpersonal relationships. Finally, Meles desperately wants recognition and public accolades for his achievements, consistently focusing us on his accomplishments while being relatively more willing to forego appreciation while efforts remain in process. While we are fairly confident that Meles is a moderate-to-strong "T," our confidence is lessened by how effectively Meles can operate as an "F." The TPLF Executive Committee has a lot of strong and dogmatic personalities that would not take lightly to being vetoed frequently. Meles has retained his influence over more than two decades by navigating this dynamic well. Moreover, Meles is an expert in knowing his audience and choosing his language carefully to deliver a carefully-crafted, audiencespecific argument. Still, the dynamics behind his break with others in the TPLF in 2001 and his logic-, rather than values-, based argumentation that leads us to believe that he is a "T." J P (Judging Perceiving). Dichotomy: Lifestyle
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Most people who prefer Judging: Are scheduled/organized; Strive to finish one project before starting another; Like to have things decided; May decide things too quickly; Try to avoid lastminute stresses; finish tasks well before deadline; Try to limit surprises; See routines as effective Most people who prefer Perceiving: Are spontaneous/flexible; Start many projects but may have trouble finishing them; Like things loose and open to change; May decide things too slowly; Feel energized by last-minute pressures; finish tasks at the deadline; Enjoy surprises; See routines as limiting. Meles Zenawi is a strong Judging J type, according to the Ambassador. He explains: Meles is certainly a strong "J." Throughout our scores of meetings with the Prime Minister, in which he consistently operates without notes, Meles delivers points on any range of issues that can be precisely diagrammed into an outline. Within each point of his arguments he deploys a precise list of supporting details or arguments. Meles is a linear thinker, starting from the beginning, then reaching the end before broaching a new issue. We are very confident of Meless "J"ness. In light of the analyses, the Ambassador provides a recommendation on how to communicate with the Prime Minister. He suggested: We hope that this analysis provides useful insights for USG interlocutors who will engage the Prime Minister. Meless ISTJ type suggests very clearly that the most persuasive arguments to make with the Prime Minister to sway his decisions will be those that are delivered privately, focused on an end objective that he supports or values, highly specific and detailed, and delivered in a clear, linear fashion. Further, if our message is one that he is likely to oppose, our arguments will be much more effective if delivered in a way that emphasize the objective Meles particularly understands and appreciates arguments that clearly reflect the explicit pursuit of national interests. Further, USG interlocutors must be thoroughly prepared with details to retort Meless detailed responses to initial USG points. Though this analysis was written for the use of US officials, now it is public and perhaps Ethiopian politicians and activists could use it to effectively communicate with the Prime Minister. Read the Cable below. ******************** Reference ID 09ADDISABABA729 Created 2009-03-27 12:24 Released 2011-08-30 01:44 Classification SECRET//NOFORN Origin Embassy Addis Ababa VZCZCXRO2156 OO RUEHROV DE RUEHDS #0729/01 0861224 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O 271224Z MAR 09
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FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4237 INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHFSI/DIR FSINFATC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA PRIORITY RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 000729 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2019 TAGS: PINR PGOV PREL ET SUBJECT: (S) BIOGRAPHIC NOTE: INFERRING PRIME MINISTER MELESS MYERSBRIGGS TYPE ISTJ Classified By: Ambassador Donald Yamamoto for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). SUMMARY 1. (S/NF) After scores of meetings with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Post has strong confidence in our ability to infer Meless Myers-Briggs type. We strongly believe that Meles is a strong ISTJ. A STRONG INTROVERT "I" 2. (S/NF) We have a high degree of confidence that Meles is a moderate-to-strong "I." He is quiet, deliberative, and certainly not a "man about town." We understand from direct engagements with him, and from those close to him, that he is a voracious reader and very introspective (both personally and about the country). While Meles certainly has to work the members of the ruling partys central committee, these are all long-time, very close friends. He thrives on one-on-one or small group discussions (such as with renown economists, talking about imperial Japanese history, or the U.S. founding fathers), while being far more reserved in larger groups (i.e. large CODEL groups, etc.). As such, we are highly confident of this "I" classification. STRONGLY SENSING "S 3. (S/NF) Meles is a details man. He knows them inside and out, and he deploys them quickly and precisely to establish and defend his arguments. Whenever we raise concerns, he responds with highly nuanced and highly specific details to counter our arguments. He is particularly adept at using such details to counter points raised by senior USG (and presumably other foreign) officials. On numerous occasions we have observed Meles run circles around visitors who note general concerns by throwing out detailed responses. As some more senior USG visitors may not know all of the specific details regarding a particular dynamic they are asked to raise beyond what may be included in a two-page brief, their ability to offer a detailed retort can be limited or can lead them to
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stand down without countering Meless response. As such, we are again highly confident that Meles is an "S." LIKELY THINKING "T" 4. (S/NF) We assess that Meles is likely a moderate-to-strong "T," but internal ruling party dynamics require him to operate skillfully as an "F" as well, which he does with aplomb. As with his deployment of details in presenting an argument, Meles conveys his analysis of internal, economic, and regional dynamics in a clear, logical way focused on ends/objectives far more than on values. While Meles does certainly still rely to a fair extent on "values" (particularly regarding the ideologies of revolutionary democracy and the developmental state), his thinking on these issues has evolved over the years, particularly after engagement with others (Sachs, Stiglitz, western governments, etc.) suggesting that when confronted with a detailed, logical, results-oriented argument he can move away from ideological dogma. A stronger argument for his "T"ness, is actually the argument against his "F"ness as evidenced by the rift within the TPLF in 2001. Meless absolute and near-visceral break from Seeye Abraha ) perhaps his best, closest, and oldest friend ) suggests that when push comes to shove, he is far more wedded to tasks/ends than interpersonal relationships. Finally, Meles desperately wants recognition and public accolades for his achievements, consistently focusing us on his accomplishments while being relatively more willing to forego appreciation while efforts remain in process. 5. (S/NF) While we are fairly confident that Meles is a moderate-to-strong "T," our confidence is lessened by how effectively Meles can operate as an "F." The TPLF Executive Committee has a lot of strong and dogmatic personalities that would not take lightly to being vetoed frequently. Meles has retained his influence over more than two decades by navigating this dynamic well. Moreover, Meles is an expert in knowing his audience and choosing his language carefully ADDIS ABAB 00000729 002 OF 002 to deliver a carefully-crafted, audience-specific argument. Still, the dynamics behind his break with others in the TPLF in 2001 and his logic-, rather than values-, based argumentation that leads us to believe that he is a "T." DEFINITELY JUDGING "J" 6. (S/NF) Meles is certainly a strong "J." Throughout our scores of meetings with the Prime Minister, in which he consistently operates without notes, Meles delivers points on any range of issues that can be precisely diagrammed into an outline. Within each point of his arguments he deploys a precise list of supporting details or arguments. Meles is a linear thinker, starting from the beginning, then reaching the end before broaching a new issue. We are very confident of Meless "J"ness. COMMENT 7. (S/NF) We hope that this analysis provides useful insights for USG interlocutors who will engage the Prime Minister. Meless ISTJ type suggests very clearly that the most persuasive arguments to make with the Prime Minister to sway his decisions will be those that are delivered privately, focused on an end objective that he supports or values, highly specific and detailed, and delivered in a clear, linear fashion. Further, if our message is one that he is likely to oppose, our arguments will be much
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more effective if delivered in a way that emphasize the objective Meles particularly understands and appreciates arguments that clearly reflect the explicit pursuit of national interests. Further, USG interlocutors must be thoroughly prepared with details to retort Meless detailed responses to initial USG points. End Comment. YAMAMOTO *************** Check the Wikileaks Archive for previous and forthcoming posts.

Filed under Meles Zenawi, US embassy Addis Ababa, wikileaks Tagged with Carl Jung, Donald Yamamoto, Meles Zenawi behavior, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Comments
7 Responses to Wikileaks: Analyzing PM Meles Zenawis personality [full text] 1. Elyas Mulu Kiros says: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 @ 4:43 pm at Tue, 06 Sep 2011 16:43:21 +0000 Nice summary, my friend. I am enjoying the snippets that you are bringing out to light from the wikileaks on Ethiopia. Cheers, 4 1 i Rate This Reply
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2. Tesfatsion says: Thursday, September 8, 2011 @ 2:37 pm at Thu, 08 Sep 2011 14:37:52 +0000 Very detailed and more or less to the point description of the personality trait owned by Prime Minister Meles. Thanks for posting this article. Enjoyed it much 2 0 i Rate This Reply 3. Kirmizi ato says: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 @ 1:16 am at Tue, 29 Nov 2011 01:16:36 +0000 Kum Boyama ve Balon Dnyas Olarak yazlarnz harika. 0 0 i Rate This Reply 4. fre says: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 @ 11:55 am at Tue, 17 Jul 2012 11:55:21 +0000 I am even more proud of him. He is a great personality. what if they say he is a dictator, doesnt have any knowledge, he is big headed, grumpy, ruthless, stupid, unreliable etc that we have been hearing about other leaders in africa and other 3rd world countries and even Bush the 2nd they were saying he was stupid. 0 0 i Rate This Reply 5. Halelujah says: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 @ 6:27 pm at Wed, 15 Aug 2012 18:27:04 +0000 Hello Guys, I dont like Meles but I dont wish him death. If one wishes for the death of an other human being,
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his humanity and conscience is in question. I have never heard of a man with a mountain top honor because of thinking bad for an other human being. Please keep the little honor you are left with and dedicate it for the good of mankind. God bless us all. Amen! 1 0 i Rate This Reply 6. hirkho waq says: Friday, August 17, 2012 @ 7:28 pm at Fri, 17 Aug 2012 19:28:31 +0000 This is the real we know well it. We may hate him for many reasons, but cant deny his best ablity. Mister PM, please live for minority who got many things by your ablity, but die for the majority who get nothing from your ablity. 1 0 i Rate This Reply

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Check out what others are saying... 1. Where is PM Meles Zenawi? 13 days and counting Danielberhane's Blog says: Friday, September 30, 2011 @ 2:10 am at Fri, 30 Sep 2011 02:10:22 +0000 [...] Two weeks of absence from media is not long, per se. After all, Meles Zenawi is not a man about town, as frm US Amb. Yamamoto observed. [...] 0 0 i Rate This
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