According to the famous list of Forbes Magazine Barack Obama and Angela Merkel are the two most powerful people on earth. So, a man and a woman, each with their own distinctive leadership style. How did they deal with the global problems they encountered?
To the European Union the situation in Greece was thé nightmare of 2012. How to deal with a country that is economically véry fragile, but politically and economically so entangled with the rest of Europe? The first support package was easily crafted, but when that was not enough, views differed: devaluate debts or still a ‘Grexit’. Already in 2011 specifically British Prime Minister Cameron reacted fiercely: ‘Not one penny more. British taxpayers' money won’t be spent on another Greek bailout.’ Also Angela Merkel spoke firmly, but with a different view: the Greek should economize, and not just a little bit. For ‘us’, but mainly for themselves. This did not make her very popular in Greece. Understandable when people see their pensions go up in smoke, but not entirely justified: Merkel has continued to believe in a future for the Greek in Europe. Even in the prospect of having to devaluate the debts.
Barack Obama has ended a very thrilling election period. At first it seemed to be a walkover, but after the television debate it became a very close race with Mitt Romney. In the heat of the electoral fights hurricane Sandy through herself into the ring, with disastrous consequences. Obama immediately put the federal government in action, paused his campaign and sent in many people to provide support. On the other hand Romney was of the opinion that the government should be holding back and let the states take the lead themselves. Obama’s gusto and humane response were praised everywhere and got him many new voters. Interesting detail: according to Obama himself it was due to the female voters that he was re-elected (‘It was women wot won the election’)…
True leaders have a sharp strategic insight, do not walk away from trouble, can release themselves from existing structure and are capable to make compromises. Having gusto and being authoritarian are not synonymous: big leaders above all are humane.
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