Washington, Mar.29 (ANI): Fourteen months into the Obama presidency, one striking feature of an American president who took office to a swooning world is the absence of any strong personal ties - or even a go-to working relationship - with any other world leader.
Where Ronald Reagan had Margaret Thatcher, and Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had Tony Blair, Obama has no one leader.
Instead, according to the Christian Science Monitor, the former law professor has what seems to be a preference for big-themed foreign speeches (think Cairo; Prague, Czech Republic; Moscow; ccra, Ghana) and policy gatherings (his UN nuclear summit, the Pittsburgh Group of 20 economic summit, a White House nuclear nonproliferation summit in May) bereft of the warm and fuzzy.
For Obama, no buddies abroad - The Christian Science Monitor -CSMonitor.com
For Obama, no buddies abroad. Other U.S. presidents have bonded with foreign leaders, but Obama so far has no such ties. Does that matter?
So, when French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni, sit down for dinner with the Obamas in the White House family dining room March 30, there is hope for a private, personal, perhaps even chatty evening.
When the Obamas were in Paris last year, Obama turned down a dinner invitation to the Elysei Palace, ostensibly so he could take Michelle out for a private night on the town.
Obama's cool, all-business demeanor with his global peers is all the more striking because it is opposite to the style promoted by his predecessor George W. Bush.
President Bush's policies were widely reviled overseas, but he strove to forge personal links with a few key leaders.
He cultivated Tony Blair's friendship on Iraq, and he developed a hierarchy of visit venues - White House, Camp David, his Texas ranch - that signalled where a leader stood in his estimation.
He walked hand in hand with the Saudi king, and even tried massaging German Chancellor Angela Merkel's shoulders - although the latter gesture fell particularly flat.
Bush's comment about "looking into his soul" upon meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested a desire to know and understand the leader, whereas Obama has yet to find his soul mate on the world stage - and may not be inclined to find one.
Thomas Henriksen, a US foreign-policy scholar at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California, said: "It appears to be his nature or personality, the so-called no-drama-Obama thing."
Stephen Hess, an expert on the US presidency at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said: "Obama turns out to be much more cool, in McLuhanesque terms of cool and hot." (ANI)