Sunday, April 05, 2009

Global Politician?

It is hard to ignore what is happening here – Barak Obama undertaking multiple press conferences in cities continent away, conducting a town hall meeting in France, a public speech in Prague and another one followed in Turkey. It kind of leads one to question who is ‘ruling’ in these countries. In many of these countries such an open access for common public to their top leaders is missing at times. Rarely in many of these countries their top leaders address their citizens in such public and direct way, leave aside any foreign ones.

Jury is out whether such ‘direct democracy / campaign’ style diplomacy will solve any of America’s or worlds problems. Well, why just foreign affairs, Americans themselves are waiting for results at home of what they ‘fell for’ in the last year’s campaign and presidential election!

But all said President Barak Obama’s this democratic experimentation is new and quite innovative. This is quite a different formulation than what his predecessor tried - paving ways to democracy using armed conflicts. Obama’s election last year and his unabashedly follow up on that on these foreign tours; all these things have undeniable impressions on folks all across the world. It makes folks to think that things are feasible at global scale. Of course, simultaneous global economic funk is nearer to home all across countries which have been a jolt for folks to understand that indeed it is a ‘global village’. But Obama is smartly trying to exploit it and channel it for a greater good. That is a classic sign of a true global politician. Obama is trying to walk the talk here when he says

“Well, if it is just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy – you know, well, that’s an easier negotiation. But that’s not the world we live in. And it shouldn’t be the world that we live in. It’s not a loss for America. It’s an appreciation that Europe is now rebuilt and a powerhouse. Japan is rebuilt, is a powerhouse. China, India, these are all countries on the move. And that’s good.”

Exactly, amen.

These points are well understood by many in the world. Two solid commentaries in this regard are by Edward Luce and Philip Stephens; both from London's Financial Times.

One just hopes more and more established and charismatic politicians from different countries start building this nascent global political foundation. Former British PM Tony Blair and to a certain extent Former President Clinton and Vice President Gore are travelling along this path. President Carter had effective post presidency years by engaging in global diplomacy. Nelson Mandela was another one. Brazilian President Lula will be yet another candidate for global political role if he is able to retire with honor and with his legacy intact.

No, we are not talking ‘global government’ and ‘global elections’ yet. (Nearest to the later one will happen in India very soon if size of electorate is the criterion.) There is a long way to reach there and no one knows what is the path or even if it makes any sense. However, what we are talking is creating an ‘effective platform’ where people’s problems on global scale, in populist manners, are discussed by legitimate leaders from around the world. We have had enough of cloistered world politics in UN. We need ‘direct’ participation from global citizens. President Obama’s foreign trip is showing the way how it can be done, at least one credible way of doing it.

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