Barack Obama

President of United States

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  • In-Country Power
  • International Power
  • Respect
  • Military Strength
  • Intelligence
  • Special Skill: Global Popularity

Official Stats

  • Official Title: President
  • Government: Well-established democracy
  • Years Left in Office: To 2012; re-election possible
  • Political Classification: Center-left
  • Education: BA in Political Science & International Relations; J.D. in Law
  • Age: 52 (born August 3, 1961)

Barack Obama Facts and Information

Important Points

  • Obama is the single most powerful leader on the planet, as is every US President in the modern era
  • Obama is wildly popular across the entire planet...way more than he is just in the US
  • Obama is wildly popular across the entire planet...way more than he is just in the US
  • Obama is wildly popular across the entire planet...way more than he is just in the US

The Rundown

Ba-rock the house with Obama! The most popular politician on the planet! Beloved and adored by perhaps billions across the globe….and I think its fair to say that this is not much of an exaggeration. The Europeans are to the point of full-on stalker-status hero-worship of the guy, the Kenyans declared a national holiday when he became President, and even the US-bashing Hugo Chavez went out of his way to shake the hand of the Obama man.  Already having won the Nobel Peace Prize for merely existing, the center-left Obama has magically made the ‘American dream’ a truly achievable reality for all; perhaps that is the reason for his wild popularity.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that America is all equal and free and anyone could have been elected President at any time….but let’s be realistic here; the ‘free-est’ and ‘equal-est’ country in the world did have a straight 200 year run electing only old, rich, white dudes. Hardly the best example of equal opportunity for all, especially considering that many, many other countries have elected both minority ethnicities and women to their top slots of government. So in a sense, even if Obama fails as a President, the country as a whole has somehow advanced itself on the world stage. I know: sounds sappy, but it’s true.

Of course, the other reason he seems to beloved on the world stage has a lot to do with how despised the previous US administration was on that same stage. Now hold on! This is not a judgement call or personal opinion on my part! There simply is a stark contrast in leadership styles between Obama and Bush, which wildly impacts the US’s behavior at the global scale, and therefore greatly impacts world attitudes towards the US. And that is going to be the focus of most of this rant: the differences in style which made Bush/Cheney despised and Obama immediately embraced on the international scene. Again, we are focusing on the international dimensions of the dude…I’m not concerned with the domestic drivel which you are inundated with on a daily basis from the US news, and I recognize the the US itself is evenly split about 50/50 between Obama-haters and Obama-lovers. But to the world scene….

With no reservations I tell you that Obama is the single most powerful human on the planet, and this has nothing to do with his popularity.  The American Presidency is still the most powerful position on earth, regardless of party, beliefs, or intelligence of the person who holds the post.  Barack wields tremendous influence in terms of shaping global policies, global events, and global news.

To re-state: it’s the position that has this power, not the particular person. Even on his very last day in office, former President Bush had more power than any other world leader on their first day in office. How is this so? Well, the US is the single largest economy in the world (at least for a little while longer), and money does matter in terms of power. More to the point, being the leader of the sole superpower on the planet, the American President has at his disposal the most advanced and lethal military in the world, the largest stockpile of nuclear weaponry in the world, and a government structure which allows him/her to use these tools with great speed and few hurdles. Result: Even in the most unpopular, unsupported, unattractive and un-powerful American President has the ability to start a war or totally annihilate the planet in his last five minutes on the job. Damn, that’s power! Obama now holds that sinister scepter of supreme power.

Now that’s the power that the position of American President wields. Let’s talk about the man currently in that position. Everyone already knows the Obama pedigree: born in Hawaii, Mom American, Dad Kenyan, lived in Indonesia, went to Harvard, taught law classes at University of Chicago while practicing as a civil rights attorney and public activist in Chicago, and then came out of relative obscurity to win a US Senate seat for Illinois. Oh, and then suddenly became President of the most powerful nation on earth at the tender age of 47.  Enough of the r?sum?.  Let’s get to some terms which describe his international politics and policies…

In absolute and utter contrast to his predecessors, Obama and his team would be described internationally as more diplomatic and possible even dovish. Dovish? What the hell does a bird got to do with this? Funny you should ask, because the opposite of dovish is hawkish...yet another bird term! Two birds to deal with here. And of course two birds in the hand is worth one in the Bush. Oh! Sometimes I am too good! Birds! Bush! Ha! Let’s start with the hawks.

Game on and War on!!! Hawkishness is a term which helps describe why former President Bush and his administration had such low approval ratings around the world.  Like’em or hate’em, the Bush administration will go down in history being defined as a hawkish bunch. In politics, to be hawkish means that you have an actively aggressive attitude to solving problems and you favor military force/action in order to carry out foreign policy objectives. Some of the keywords in that definition are actively and favor, reinforcing the idea that military force is the most desirable option. Vigorous and immediate action (in a military sense) is the foundation stone of a hawkish leader’s/administration’s foreign policy, as they see the tools of diplomacy as too slow and ineffective. I don’t have to go into detail here: War in Iraq, War in Afghanistan, War on Drugs, War on Terror?I think you get the point.

Back to Barack. Of course, the opposite descriptor is to be a dove, or dove-like or dovish: that is, favoring vigorous diplomacy first and foremost, with military action only to be used as an absolute last resort. Being vigorously diplomatic to the bitter end is a hallmark of this approach. The Obama team is much much much much more open to negotiations and talks and diplomacy as a first means of dealing with world problems and even rogue states. Obama’s foreign policy has worked exceptionally hard to be more inclusive of the US’ allies, but even friendly and diplomatic to US’ enemies….going so far as to say they want to ‘reset’ relations with Russia, open dialogue with Iran, and even meet with North Korean officials one-on-one, which was always a no-go with the previous administration.

Hell, Obama even met with a top-ranking official from the Burmese junta on the sidelines of an ASEAN meeting….and the US has not had a face-to-face with those bloodthirsty bastards for decades! And one of Obama’s first orders of business was to make a speech in Egypt directly to the Islamic masses of the Middle East and the world about a message of hope and working together. That’s pro-active diplomacy! We wouldn’t exactly say the the Obama team is full-on dovish though, since they are involved in active wars, and even ramping up troops numbers in Afghanistan in particular. But the spirit of the descriptor still works for them overall.

But let’s stay on point here: former President Bush, former Vice-President Cheney, and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld were all staunchly in the hawkish camp. That alone is only a single descriptor, and quite frankly there no sin in having an aggressive point of view. In fact, many would argue that hawkish behavior is entirely appropriate in many situations…for instance, what’s the point of being diplomatic or dovish to crazy-ass Kim Jong-Il, or Stalin, or Hitler, or Bin Laden? That is a valid point you should consider when debating your hawkish neo-con friends. However, it’s the next word that lowered the world view of former President Bush and his administration even more?

And that would be unilateral. The main reason that much of the world, and many individual world leaders, held the US at arms length in disdain is because the Bush administration was also extremely unilateral in many of their actions?meaning they acted alone; a team of one. Early on, the Bush administration consistently asked the world to support their version of foreign policy, and when the world refused to?the Bushies went ahead with their plans anyway. President Bush and his team would argue that they had to do the right thing in their opinion, regardless of the willy-nilly world opinion and slow response of the UN?and that is an easily made argument that roughly half of the US population supports.

This rift is most clearly seen in the current US war in Iraq, which was extremely unpopular within the UN and world opinion as a whole. Ever wonder why the UN or NATO or a whole bunch of other US allies are not helping in Iraq? It’s because the US acted unilaterally, which served to piss off all those other institutions. So a unilateralist leader is one who often leads his country to act alone and does not care about opinions of others, even if they are allies. The opposite of unilateralism is multilateralism, which suggests an eagerness to act alongside of others. Remember that war hero guy Colin Powell? He was the original Secretary of State under President Bush in the lead-up to the Iraq war. Colin was a devout multilateralist who worked hard to get other countries on board for the war, but he was quickly squeezed out of the unilateral Bush administration because of the conflicts in their beliefs and approaches to conducting war. So now you know how the real shit goes down.

But back it up to Barack again: Obama and his bunch, particularly US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, are definitely in the multilateralist camp. Since taking office, Obama and Clinton have bent over backwards to mend ties between the US and their European allies, reset relations between the US and Russia, and become a more integrated player at the UN.  THAT is why the Europeans love him so much: he treats them as equal partners, not subservient pawns. Its also why US enemies have a more difficult time bashing him: acting multilaterally and diplomatically takes the fire out of the “US as imperialists pigs” argument the Chavez and Mugabe and others like to use. And think about his foreign policy directives just in active wars: Obama immediately played down the Iraq War (a hawkish, US unilateralist campaign), in favor of boosting support for the Afghan War (a multilateral US-led NATO campaign that had blessings of the UN and the world).

This multilateralist approach signifies a significant shift in thinking for the leadership of the US; it places the US as a great power among many powers on the planet which respects others opinions, as opposed to the US as the sole super-power which need not give a damn what the rest of the world thinks.  Obama has been extremely active promoting this viewpoint internationally too! In his first year in office, Barack became the most traveled US President, visiting over 20 countries. He gave that Islamic address in Cairo (never done before), he sat in on a ASEAN meeting (never done before),  conducted a town hall meeting with college students in Turkey (never done before), attended and spoke at a OAS meeting where Hugo shook his hand (never done before), and was at the G-20 summit,  NATO meeting, and spoke at the UN. Busy boy, that Barack. A multilateral internationalist at heart. He cares about world opinion. Sniff, sniff, I’m getting all teary eyed. It will probably get his ass un-elected in the US, but the world digs it.

Did I spend too much time talking about the former administration and not enough about all of Obama’s accomplishments? Damn straight I did….cuz he doesn’t have any yet. But at least you better understand his global position on international affairs and why he was so quickly embraced as an awesome world leader across the globe the day he won the election. I still remember over-hearing a conversation on Inauguration Day between a group of students and someone said that ?watching international reaction on TV, in so many other countries?it was like the end scene in Return of the Jedi, when the empire was defeated and the whole galaxy partied.? Hahahahaha omg that is too hilarious!

So Obama’s mere existence is uplifting and exciting to peoples across the planet…..he manifests the collective dream of freedom for the oppressed masses across planet earth.  A ‘other than a white dude,’ freely elected, leader of the free-est, coolest, hippest country on the planet. It is one thing to say since the inception of the country that ‘all men are created equal’, but Obama’s mere presence as the head of state now for the first time truly confirms to the planet that America holds the ultimate promise of freedom for everyone. THAT is why he is so admired and so popular and so beloved….even though he himself has yet to accomplish squat.

Combine that popularity with the more diplomatic and dovish and multilateralist approach to the world and you have the makings of a new age of leadership for the US and a new place on the world stage…in a role that no one really has experience playing: as a great power among other powers, not as the only top banana. While his domestic agenda fills the US airways and people debate his ‘socialist slide’ on healthcare or bank finance or whatever, its his foreign policy shift is the most important thing you need to consider, as it takes the most militarily powerful country in a new direction in the 21st century.

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