Mar 17, 2014
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Ukraine: Mr Putin and the non-presence of Mr Obama, the winning side of international public opinion

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The difficulties in being the most powerful man on earth

By Giovanni Pallotta

Today’s international political stage is now dominated by the figure of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladmir Vladimirovic Putin. His power has been written about more than once in various magazines and newspapers, and he was crowned as the most powerful man on Earth by Forbes magazine. All this publicity serves as proof of how much appeal the ex-army colonel of KGB has on international media and political affairs. Meanwhile, the non- presence of the figure of the American President Barack Obama seems to stand out as well. When Obama was elected to his first term in 2008, he was identified as the universal figure of American “rebirth”, hailed as a new “Roosevelt.” Today, however at a distance of only six years, Obama appears at a first glance, much more similar to Jimmy Carter, confused and involved in situations that are bigger than he is.

So, what has happened to Obama since 2008 on the American and international political scene to downcast the President from a leader of New World Order to a weak leader in comparison to the actions taken by his Russian counterpart?

First of all, we must keep in mind the United States internal political situation; the five year period from 2008-2013 in terms of the American economy was the worst since the Great Depression of 1929. Furthermore, the country had to bear two military situations (Iraq and Afghanistan) both inherited from the previous Bush administration with its doctrine of “preventative” attacks.

Obama’s first major intervention regarded setting his nation back on track by concentrating on American economic/work issues, while at the same time trying to gear his nation towards a health system worthy of a developed and modern nation as the United States . As we remember, “Obamacare” angered and infuriated many of the Republicans and Conservatives.

Regarding this aforementioned aspect, the Obama administration has to be considered successful. His administration, succeeded with only one mandate, to turn his nation around and have the USA become once again the locomotive of the world.

Bearing his internal relations success in mind, why is Obama regarded as a basically “weak” leader by the rest of the world? In my opinion for one very simple reason. Often the real role of the American President that is to say the leader of his nation and its citizens is ignored by international public opinion. On the contrary, international public opinion tends to consider the resident of the White House as a sort of “world guardian or keeper,” who has to have among his responsibilities that of maintaining international peace. This opinion could not be more mistaken!! The resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has only one thing at heart, that is to say the interest of his own nation and its citizens to whom the President is bond. All the rest is Cold War Rhetoric spiced up with Clintonian tones.

For this reason, every sort of criminal act (paid killings and the murder of ethnic groups) carried out by Putin and his administration is casually “not seen”. However if Obama should decide to carry out military retaliation or action, he will be considered as a “hawk” thus supportive of the previous the Bush administration strategy. On the other hand, if the President of the United States should deem not to start upon a risky war operation, then he will be tagged as weak. Whatever Mr. Obama and his administration may decide to do, the choice is not easy and it is not a simple task to be on the winning side of international public opinion.

Giovanni Pallotta

Photo credits: The Sun

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Giovanni Pallotta