Fri 3 Apr 2009
President Brack Obama acquitted himself well in London, performing for the first time in his presidency on the world stage, manifesting the dignity and good sense that befit a true leader and even personally smoothing over a tiff between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chinese Premier Hu Jintao.
During a meeting with the international press, Obama said, “If there’s just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with brandy, that’s an easy negotiation. But that’s not the world we live in, and it shouldn’t be the world we live in.”
Obama is partially right here. The age is long past when larger-than-life statesmen could sit in wood-paneled rooms in the English countryside or at luxurious resorts on the Black Sea and make decisions that affected the economics, politics and geography of nations rich and poor for generations.
On the other hand, what the hell is wrong with a glass of brandy?
Look at the news photos of these world leaders. Lord have mercy, do they look up-tight and stressed out! Especially German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Of course the German fear of inflation runs so deep that it amounts to cultural paranoia — those memories of the late 1920s, when it took a wheelbarrow filled with marks to buy a loaf of bread don’t die easily — though as many economists point out, inflation isn’t exactly the problem that Europe faces now. Angela, have a glass of brandy! Loosen up, girl!
Now, I’m not talking about world leaders getting knee-walkin’ drunk; that would be an unwholesome spectacle (especially with the teetotaler Sarkozy frowning in all his puritanical dudgeon). The warm, mellow lubricatory powers of an inch of brandy, however, might go a long way toward helping presidents and premiers negotiate in more amenable moods and circumstances. In vino veritas, and all that.
No, we don’t want to return to the days of Grand Old White Men privately parsing the fate of the world, but perhaps Roosevelt and Churchill had the right idea about the brandy.
My linkedin profile.
Image of brandy snifter (modified) from ecoupons.com.
Image of Barack Obama and Gordon Brown from bleedingheartshow.wordpress.com.