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i think he could become a world leader, if he chooses to do so by example, not by force or undiplomatic arm-twisting.

he is certainly of a different calibre than any other world leader at present.

his most herculean task will be to put his own house in order. after that, the world could be his oyster.

that job will take his two terms to accomplish, but meanwhile any intelligently sustainable move to do so will do much to inspire and encourage similar and parallel moves internationally.

nice diary, frank, written from the heart.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 11:17:38 AM EST
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Thanks.  It started from a sense that Obama could be a great world leader but also a great deal of uncertainty as to what his ultimate objectives are. Hopefully there are some facts and logic in there as well, but we really have very little to go on at the moment in divining his ultimate ambitions.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 11:55:58 AM EST
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you're welcome, your diaries are always relevant, pithy and interesting, but this one seems more personal.

we've never had a world leader before, the concept is cartoonish, it implies a level of consciousness and responsibility that few national leaders attain and practise, so it's a blank slate upon which we can project and affirm what we want.

waht i want in a global leader is remarkably similar to what barack obama endorses.

i found his speech 4 years ago at the dem convention too fluffy, too glib, but what turned me around was reading his autobiography, and watching him surf the challenges and hatred thrown at him throughout the campaign.

the way he paced himself was impressive, too.

this period between election and inauguration is horrible, i find. i wish it could be eliminated.

crippled by the situation from really leading, he has to watch gwb act out his last juvenile pathologies, when the people have spoken...

this makes him much more of a lame duck than gwb, imo.

stupid system.

matt taibbi has an interesting take on obama, saying all he did was not be a dick, while the competition worked itself into an undignified lather or was revealed as criminally incompetent...

what i like most about him is the relationship of his ego with the rest of his mental architecture, it's just one of the bearing walls, the others being a big vision, a tranquil faith, and a desire for co-operation and harmony between nations.

the narrowness of the gap between the scylla of disappointed lefty support (fisa) and the charybdis of righty howls of unamericanism took a master mariner to squeak through, one false move and he would have been an interesting blip in history.

he's young, inexperienced, but has the gravitas and groundedness of a man twice his age, and the times we live in, and the faith so many have in him will for more experience upon him than most folks would ask for or have a clue what to do to rise to.

it's a miracle, and every day he's allowed to live, firms up the narrative that america, and the world, are ready for a new style of leader.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 05:44:03 PM EST
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melo:
we've never had a world leader before, the concept is cartoonish

Maybe people are reading more into the term of World leader than I ever intended.  In my use/meaning of the term, Gandhi, Roosevelt, Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan, Gorbachev, Mandela etc. were all world leaders in the sense of having a profound influence far beyond the formal borders of their own nation state.  Gandhi wasn't even a state leader, and the others had no formal responsibilities beyond their own constitutions/electorates/parties.  The term is neither necessarily good or bad (as the above list confirms) and is usually a mixture of both.

When I use the term in relation to Obama it expresses a hope that his influence will result in the ending of some wars, the development of more effective means of international cooperation and conflict resolution, the emergence of more effective global governance structures to deal will global issues - climate change, financial systems, genocide, famine and disease etc.  

It doesn't mean that I expect him to become some kind of formal or informal world President.  Just that I hope he will be  very good US President who will benefit both the USA and the world.  This doesn't have to be a zero sum game. In GWB's case it was a zero minus game where both the USA and the World were diminished.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 06:40:24 PM EST
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ah, i understand.

i agree.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 12:48:24 AM EST
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Obama gives the impression of being thoroughly grounded in his self, or in the depths of his being.  His self identity does not seem entirely bound up with his ego.  He appears to have a vigorous and powerful ego that he seems able to transcend.  This ability gives him access to enormous inner resources, especially in the case of good judgment, is likely the source of his appearance of calm at the center of the storm, and, I believe, is the basis of his charismatic appeal.  I believe he has the potential to be a truly transformative leader.  He will have to be in order to be successful.

He has demonstrated a profound ability to inspire people and to win over skeptics.  In order to be successful, he will have to use these abilities to bring a substantial majority of the population along with him in a consensus for a change in the way we see the relationship between the individual and society, the obligations of each to the other, and a new understanding of the realities of the world and of the place of the USA in the world.

Jimmy Carter demonstrated that you cannot just tell the  US electorate that our situation has changed and we must adapt to it.  Unless the President can make a majority see and accept the facts of the case, he will be simply out bid by the next big lier and denier who comes along.  It would be foolish to rule out the possibility of the emergence of a new leader in the mold of Ronald Reagan by 2012 or 2016.  The population must be vaccinated against such a catastrophic possibility.  The best way to accomplish that is by leading a transformation of the country into a better and more successful society.  Accomplishing that would be Obama's greatest legacy.  Anything less just sets us up for the next leadership disaster.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 06:02:30 PM EST
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A very perceptive comment.  I think how Obama governs will be almost as important as what his actual policy changes.  The paradigm within which US politics is played has to change, not just the pecking order within it.

See How Obama won for an interesting take on Obama's organisation and ego.  Of course he will eventually be found to have feet of clay, like everyone else.  But it is the manner of doing politics, of building society, of engaging people's hopes and dreams which can endure.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 06:42:16 AM EST
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It might just be that he knows he has feet of clay, which would make for a refreshing change.

A couple of years as President will screw him up anyway: I don't believe it's possible to stay grounded in reality to the end of the first term, never mind the second term.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 06:44:20 AM EST
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Which is why we need a paradigmatic shift, not just a change to more competent personnel, and what he leaves behind him is more important than what happens to Obama himself.  The last two such changes were the Civil rights movement of the 1960's and the Reagan revolution of the 1980's.  Before that we had FDR/new deal. Pradigmatic shifts change the frame of reference of the entire polity - forcing even the GOP to completely change track.  

Perhaps stuff like abortion, gays, and assualt weapons in private hands will finanaly be taken off the table and cease to exist as mainstream political issues - or wedge issues used to contra-distinguish major Presidential candidates and parties.  Perhaps the issue will become not regulation/deregulation, but what kind of regulation.  Perhaps the notion of invading a country because you don't like it's regime will come to be seen as absurd.

We can live in hope, but we must also watch and see whether real change is intended.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 07:07:24 AM EST
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I, of course, fear that you are right.  But would we both not be pleased to be proven wrong?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 12:15:59 PM EST
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I had dinner tonight with an old Finnish CEO who escaped from Hungary  with his Hungarian girlfriend in '56. We talked about all and everything.

"He'll be shot", he said. It is a possibility.

But I believe that the 'awakening' is bigger than the man. The awakening is the only thing that is really important. 10% more compassion. 10% more motivation. 10 % more awareness of the world around. 10% more of anything can tip a balance.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 05:50:36 PM EST
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"He'll be shot", he said. It is a possibility.

Unfortunately, a distinct possibility.  Several very amateurish plots already uncovered and people arrested.  America has its share of extreme fanatics on the right.  All it takes it one successful attempt.

IMO, Obama has the leadership capability to be extraordinary.  But he has to survive and he has to conquer an entrenched and disfunctional system... and assuming he does have an extraordinary "vision".

Time will tell.

by Jagger on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 10:03:04 PM EST
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Ya know, Sven, there are a whole lot of us who have been trying not to say this out loud, on the theory that experessing it might make it more likely to happen. But we know the possibility exists. Oh yes, we do know. Particularly those of us who remember Dr. King and Senator Bobby Kennedy and President Jack Kennedy.

I do most sincerely hope that the Secret Service is every bit as good at its job as its reputation alleges.

by Mnemosyne on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 08:39:24 PM EST
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