BFF-55 Obama the writer deploys pen on other leaders

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BFF-55

US-OBAMA-DIPLOMACY QUOTES

Obama the writer deploys pen on other leaders

WASHINGTON, Nov 17, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Former US president Barack
Obama offers poetic and often biting assessments of other world
leaders his new memoir “A Promised Land,” which he says he wrote
entirely on his own in longhand.

Here are some of his descriptions of other world leaders from his
encounters with them between 2009 and 2011:

– RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (THEN PRIME MINISTER) VLADIMIR PUTIN:

“Physically, he was unremarkable: short and compact — a wrestler’s
build — with thin, sandy hair, a prominent nose, and pale, watchful
eyes. … I noticed a casualness to his movements, a practiced
disinterest in his voice that indicated someone accustomed to being
surrounded by subordinates and supplicants.”

– FRANCE’S THEN PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY:

“With his dark, expressive vaguely Mediterranean features (he was
half Hungarian and a quarter Greek Jew) and small stature (he was
about five-foot-five but wore lifts in his shoes to make himself
taller), he looked like a figure out of a Toulouse-Lautrec painting.

“Conversations with Sarkozy were by turns amusing and exasperating,
his hands in perpetual motion, his chest thrust out like a bantam
cock’s, his personal translator… always beside him to frantically
mirror his every gesture and intonation as the conversation swooped
from flattery to bluster to genuine insight, never straying from his
primary, barely disguised interest, which was to be at the center of
the action and take credit for whatever it was that might be worth
taking credit for.”

– ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU:

“Built like a linebacker, with a square jaw, broad features, and a
gray comb-over, Netanyahu was smart, canny, tough and a gifted
communicator in both Hebrew and English.”

“Netanyahu could be charming, even solicitous, when it served his purposes.”

“But his vision of himself as the chief defender of the Jewish
people against calamity allowed him to justify almost anything that
would keep him in power — and his familiarity with American politics
and media gave him confidence that he could resist whatever pressure a
Democratic administration like mine might try to apply.”

– GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

“Merkel’s eyes were big and bright blue and could be touched by
turns with frustration, amusement or hints of sorrow. Otherwise, her
stolid appearance reflected her no-nonsense, analytical sensibility.”

– TURKISH PRESIDENT (THEN PRIME MINISTER) RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN

“Personally, I found (Erdogan) to be cordial and generally
responsive to my requests. But whenever I listened to him speak, his
tall frame slightly stooped, his voice a forceful staccato that rose
an octave in response to various grievances or perceived slights, I
got the strong impression that his commitment to democracy and the
rule of law might last only as long as it preserved his own power.” –
INDIA’S THEN PRIME MINISTER MANMOHAN SINGH:

“A gentle, soft-spoken economist in his 70s, with a white beard and
a turban that were the marks of his Sikh faith but to the Western eye
lent him the air of a holy man…

“I would find Singh to be wise, thoughtful and scrupulously honest.”

– CHINA’S THEN PRESIDENT HU JINTAO:

“Whatever the topic, he liked to read from thick stacks of prepared
remarks, pausing every so often for translations to English that
seemed to have been prepared in advance and, somehow, always lasted
longer than his original statement. … I was tempted more than once
to suggest that we could save each other time by just exchanging
papers and reading them at our leisure.”

BSS/AFP/MRU/2256hrs