PolicyMic has a fun little post on what nine world leaders were like in their 20s. They choose Obama, Putin, Assad, Merkel, Xi, Netanyahu, Cameron, Kim, and Rouhani. Countries represented are the US, Russia, Germany, China, Israel, the UK, North Korea and Iran. These are the nations they want you to have in your mind right now because these are hot points that our foreign policy is actively engaged in as well as antagonists. It is an amazing elevation and legitimization that Assad has gone through in just the last year. Interesting that PolicyMic did not choose Brazil's Dilma Rousseff who was a Marxist guerilla in her 20s and spent time in jail, but aybe that would be too uncomfortable to discuss or inconvenient to explain away for PolicyMic. There are other options for PolicyMic, but this is meant to be frivolous and to let you know that your leaders are just like you.
The West is led by folks just like you because they had to find themselves or were rowdy in their 20s as extended adolescents. Merkel was at least married and working, but it is interesting how the East German lady is in charge of all of Germany now. Cameron was working for a think tank and boozing it up. Obama was doing his orphan soul searching and figuring out that playing it black would help him best. The West's leaders just strung together some magic and shucks, they lead the Western world.
The other world leaders are different. Assad was learning medicine and never wanted to be in charge. He's like the Michael Corleone of the family. Rouhani's 20s are focused on religion and portrayed as responsible and ambitious, as his allegiance to Khomeini is spotlighted in a positive way. He's a rebel with a good cause and our new negotiation partner! Pay no attention to what Khomeini and his regime have done to Iran. Netanyahu and Putin (Putin's kid pic selected) performed military and intelligence work, had intense training, and exhibited traits one might associate with future leader of their people. Kim was groomed by his dad to take over, and it's glossed over how he solidified control to take over after his dad at age 28. Xi in China did child of a Chinese bureaucrat things.
Whether familial or institutional, these individuals went through a system or process where molding or identifying their future talents could take place. The West's leaders could be any Joe off the street. You 20-something without direction can make something of your life just like Obama did! If we are dealing with these nations in short term critical events or for long term strategic initiatives, should the West have a better process for selecting leadership? Now the retort could be that real policy power lies elsewhere, which the media would only admit when their anointed ones fail. If that is the case, the American people deserve to know who really pulls the strings on the global stage.