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 2016; No re-election possible
  • Political Classification: Center-left
  • Education: BA in Political Science & International Relations; J.D. in Law
  • Age: 53 (born August 3, 1961)

Barack Obama Facts and Information

Important Points

  • Barrack Obama is the 44th and first African American President of the United States.
  • Obama is slightly center left on the world spectrum and has initiated more socialist leaning policy in America for more access to all.
  • His first term was partially successful, leading to a reelection but his second term has resulted in some of the worst approval ratings ever.
  • Obama is the single most powerful leader on the planet, as is every US President in the modern era
  • Obama is pretty popular across the entire planet...way more than he is just in the US

The Rundown

Ba-rock the house with Obama! Perhaps the most popular politician on the planet! Beloved and adored by millions…nay, 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 judgment 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 that 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.

But 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 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. They pulled out of Iraq, they are pulling out of Afghanistan, and they don’t even want to get involved in Syria at all.

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 multi-lateralist 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 multi-lateralist 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 multilateralism 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? Okay then, let’s back up the Barack bus again, and now let’s talk about the dude himself….

Shall we start from the beginning?  Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  His father was from Kenya, while his mother was from Kansas.  Growing up, he was also raised by his grandfather, who served in Patton’s army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to become vice president at a local bank. He attended law school, becoming the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.  After graduating, he soon returned to Chicago to teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago and help lead a voter registration drive.  He married Michelle Robinson, a fellow attorney. 
Obama was first elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996.  While in this position, he expanded health care for parents and children, cut taxes for working families, and passed the first major ethics reform in twenty-five years.  In 2004, Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate to represent Illinois.  Can you guess which side he was on?  Democrats of course!  While being a senator, he worked with locking up the world’s most dangerous weapons and other issues such as tracking federal spending online.

An important issue to discuss, how did Obama beat Clinton in the race for presidency?  Obama had three crucial advantages that enabled him to eke out a narrow victory for the Democratic nomination. First, he was able to contrast his consistent opposition to the war in Iraq with Clinton’s vote in 2002 to authorize the war before later turning against it. Second, although there was little difference between Clinton and Obama on the issues, Obama ran on a theme of change and Clinton on a theme of experience. In a year when the economy was steadily deteriorating, change was the more appealing theme, especially among Democratic voters. Third, while fighting Clinton in the thirty-nine primaries, Obama did not overlook the seventeen states and territories that, like Iowa, choose their national convention delegates through caucuses. He strongly out-organized Clinton in those contests, winning fourteen of seventeen caucuses. The delegates Obama won in the caucuses put him over the top. Clinton withdrew from the nominating contest on June 7.

Next comes Obama’s win over McCain.  Obama’s demeanor of confident competence impressed voters who were looking for both reassurance that all would be well and a change in the nation’s direction. In a time of economic crisis, what else would they be looking for?  By eschewing federal campaign funds, Obama was also able to outspend McCain substantially on media advertising and grassroots organizing. In addition, Biden impressed most voters as a much more qualified choice for vice president than Palin, whose unfamiliarity with national and international issues was revealed in a series of television interviews. And, much to his credit, McCain refused to revive concerns about Obama’s long association with Reverend Wright for fear of inflaming racial tensions.

Barack Obama is the 44th President to be elected in the United States, and the first ever African-American president.  His first term officially began on January 20, 2009.  What’s surprising about him winning his first election?  He only had four years of national political experience!  America was craving for something new!  In a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston Obama said,  “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; There’s a United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America. There’s a United States of America.” Obama encapsulated his speech’s themes of optimism and unity with the phrase, “the audacity of hope,” which he borrowed from Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Inspired yet?  Well America sure was! Through this wildly successful speech, he soon gained national attention.

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.

Being sworn into one of the worst economic crisis times since the Great Depression, Obama had to take action fast.  The American economy was losing about 800,000 jobs per month and the outgoing administration of George W. Bush had begun to implement a controversial “bail-out” package to try to help struggling financial institutions. In foreign affairs, the United States still had troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and warfare had broken out between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, illustrating the ongoing instability of the Middle East.

How is Obama running his team you ask?  Barack Obama can be described as 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.

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. It’s 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).

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.

So what else did President Barack Obama actually do in his first term?  Well for starters, he passed the landmark Affordable Care Act, which helped put quality health care in the hands of more Americans.  He also ended the war in Iraq and continued to do the same in Afghanistan.  To continue down the list, he passed the Wall Street reform to make sure taxpayers never again have to bail out big banks, cut taxes for American workers, fought for equal rights and women’s rights, and has made a college education more affordable for many students and their families.  Overall, Obama’s goal was to create jobs, particularly for the middle class, and restore economic security to working families. 

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.  At this point, 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.

ROUND TWO! In 2012, Obama won reelection.  He entered the 2012 election year with job approval ratings that were dangerously low (roughly 40 percent) and an unemployment rate that was dangerously high (more than 8 percent) for a President seeking reelection. But, like Bill Clinton in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2004, Obama benefited enormously from not having to fight for his party’s nomination. 

His second term was head started with a focus on immigration reform and gun control. However, much of the Capital’s attention was focused on “sequestration,” the automatic spending cuts that went into effect on March 1, 2013. The scheduled automatic cuts were a consequence of the decision Congress made in August 2011 to achieve $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over a ten-year period through “sequestration” if no other method could be agreed on.  Although the initial impact of sequestration was limited, Obama warned about its long-term effects on the economy. Agreement between the President and Congressional Republicans to craft a budget plan to end sequestration seemed unlikely to materialize quickly.

Along with inheriting the economic problems, Obama had to deal with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Obama made a promise during his election campaign to withdraw all American troops ASAP.  The withdrawal process went fairly smoothly.  Another military success Obama headed was the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader, on May 1, 2011 by a team of Navy SEALS. 

Another major issue Obama had to deal with were the prisoner exchanges for US troops in Afghanistan.  In hopes for peace talks with Taliban political leaders that never came, the idea of swapping prisoners emerged in early 2011.  Obama said that whatever the circumstances may be, they would get the American soldiers back.  As a result of this, the president has released, illegally I might add (so illegal that even the White House admitted it was a violation of the law!), possibly the five most vicious Taliban terrorists.  This has resulted in many people being extremely upset with the president.  Is this circumstance of having five serious terrorists on the loose better for our country???  On top of that, the United States is now regularly doing business with terrorists now, which will most likely result in a lot more hostage-takings, especially because of Obama’s little illegal act.

The list of issues Obama is trying to deal with continues.  The Obama administration is currently struggling with whether or not to continue with its goal of getting rid of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and go into an alliance with the Damascus regime to fight ISIS and other Sunni extremists in the region.  As the Syria civil war has been set on side for nearly three and a half years, Obama wants to put an immediate stop to the ISIS advance.  The Syrian Air Force has conducted strikes in Iraq but avoids attacking ISIS held areas.  ISIS is obviously pretty damn intense!  In Iraq, the United States has begun to deliver troops and aircraft to help the embattled government in Baghdad. Iran and Russia are supplying planes and forces of their own. And in the meantime, Assad’s planes are delivering air strikes on Iraq.  For now, even the Obama administration is avoiding striking ISIS.  “Our inability to deal with ISIS even in Iraq, combined with a lack of working with moderates in Syria, allowed ISIS to fester,” Obama said. “Now that has led to not only a full-blown crisis but has greatly harmed our ability to get a solution to the Syrian civil war in general.”

A final major topic that most everyone is aware of is President Obama’s major fail with his health care plan.  Insurance prices are skyrocketing and plans are getting wiped.  Contrary to the promises Obama made, medical care quality is quickly declining and the Affordable Care Act is soaring high. A part of the failure can also be contributed to the healthcare.gov website. Just in time for the governmental shutdown at the beginning of October 2013, healthcare.gov went live and all hell broke loose. The website experienced glitches, pages not loading, and most importantly, failure to enroll in the program. Out of the initial 3.7 million people who tried to apply, only 1% were able to do so successfully during the first week.

…Sorry to leave a bad taste in your mouth on that last paragraph…but generally Obama started off as a champion of change in his initial 2008 campaign. “YES WE CAN YES WE CAN YES WE CAN!” …but with current approval ratings halfway through his second term, it’s as if the American Public is screaming “NO WE CAN’T!”. Nonetheless though, Obama has been considered one of the most charismatic and relatable presidents of all time. From dunking on his delegates to implementing more socialist leaning policies, the man has had a considerable effect on our country.

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