Statesmanship

April 3, 2009 at 9:23 am | Posted in Foreign Affairs, Obama! | Leave a comment
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President Barack Obama meets with China President Hu Jintao at Winfield House in London, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

President Barack Obama meets with China President Hu Jintao at Winfield House in London, Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The picture to the right? That’s what American statesmanship looks like.

(LA Times) They had shared three meals and a full day around a conference table. The last obstacle to a deal Thursday among world leaders at their economic summit was the contents of a single pair of parentheses.

Debate wore on for an hour as the French and Chinese leaders disagreed over a small detail about how to crack down on tax havens.

Then President Obama pushed back his chair and walked around the table, inviting first France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and then China’s Hu Jintao into a corner for a series of chats. The three ended up shaking hands. Soon after, the meeting gaveled to a close.

This is what Americans want — and expect — from their President. Someone who can understand subtlety and communicate that effectively to bring about agreement between differing parties.

It’s a relief to have no more of this:

President Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a UN General Assembly meeting, September 14, 2005: I think I MAY NEED A BATHroom break. Is this possible?

President Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a UN General Assembly meeting, September 14, 2005: "I think I MAY NEED A BATHroom break. Is this possible?"

[Ed.: On October 10, 2008, in a telephone call between Bush and Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in which they discussed what should be done about the economic crisis, Rudd told Bush he thought the G20 should be involved. Bush responded, “What’s the G20?” The Prime Minister had to explain it for Bush as well as explain the G7.

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