Former United States President Barack Obama’s memoir ‘A Promised Land’ recently hit the stands and the book is providing a deeper than ever look into the 44th POTUS’ life.
But volume one of the over 700-pages book does not just provide newer insights into Obama and his presidency but also upon other world leaders whom he interacted with during his two terms in office.
In the book, Obama reveals several details about other world leaders including India’s Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. While his comments on Indian National Congress chief Rahul Gandhi went viral in India, the book also contained some juicy slams on other world leaders.
Speaking about Russsian President Vladimir Putin, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s New York Times review of the memoir quotes Obama as calling him “physically unremarkable" and that Obama towered over him. He also wrote that Putin reminded him of “tough, street-smart ward bosses that ran the Chicago political machine". Putin and Obama have always shared a ‘cordial’ relationship, the Russian President had himself said. While US maintained diplomatic relations with Russia, relations were often tense. Obama, who had in 2016 stated that he did not “trust" Putin, had once said, that Putin had “kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom".
Adichie writes that Obama’s book calls former France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy as “bold and opportunistic". Obama writes that the Republican French leader always had his “chest thrust out like a bantam cock’s". Time magazine in a report in 2011 described Sarkozy and Obama as rivals turned “friends with benefits" when Sarkozy rooted for the latter during the 2011 US Presidential elections. In 2010, they put on elaborate shows to quash talk of bad chemistry between the leaders by being on first name-basis, flooding each other with compliments, and a shared weakness for hot dogs.
Obama also spoke of former Chinese premier and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (2002-12). According to NYT, Jintao read from ‘stacks of prepared papers’ that Obama felt were ‘so monotonous’ that he almost suggested: “that we could save each other time by just exchanging papers and reading them at our leisure". The People Republic of China
Obama doesn’t just mention foreign leaders but our very own former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The Democratic two-time President described Singh as a person “having a kind of impressive integrity." He also said that Singh had an “impassive" countenance, spurring curious Google searches in India for what that meant. Earlier too, as the president of United States, Obama had praised Singh on several occasions. In 2010, after the G20 summit in Toronto, he had said: “I can tell you that here at G20, when the prime minister speaks, people listen." He added that it was because of his deep knowledge of economic issues, India rose as a world power. Obama also spoke about Congress Party chief Rahul Gandhi, stating the latter had a “nervous, unformed quality" about him like a student eager to impress the teacher but lacking aptitude and passion to “master the subject."
READ: Obama Compares Rahul Gandhi to ‘Eager Student’ Lacking Aptitude, Twitter Brings out The Memes
Not just world leaders, Obama also spoke about his former Vice President and current President-elect Joe Biden whom he called “decent, honest, loyal" man. Obama, who is much younger than Biden despite having served as his President, sensed in the book that Biden “might get prickly if he thought he wasn’t given his due".
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