Who is Barack Obama’s favourite world leader? Whose father does he blame for the early death of his own father?

And who does he find the most consistently frustrating?


American writer Jeffrey Goldberg believes he has the answers from hours of foreign policy discussions with the US president.

His 20000-word essay on Obama’s foreign policy in the April edition of Atlantic magazine has already been picked over for insights. But now the author has added a run-down of the president’s personal interactions with world leaders.

His favourite is the pope, in part because of the example he offers to progressive Muslim leaders as they struggle to sideline fundamentalists.

Angela Merkel is described as his favourite ally and he apparently likes to believe he, too, would risk his own position to let in Middle East refugees.

David Cameron comes one place below Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull.

“Although Obama told me that Britain, under Cameron, and France, under Nicolas Sarkozy, got ‘distracted’ after the Libya War and didn’t fulfil their commitments, Obama’s aides say he likes the prime minister and sees him a bit like a younger brother,” says Goldberg.

Obama’s relationship with Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta is “complicated”, according to Goldberg’s assessment. Obama’s memoir reveals how his own father’s complaints about corruption under Kenyatta’s father, Jomo, made it difficult for Obama snr to find work and perhaps drove him to drink.

Benjamin Netanyahu is described as the leader who consistently frustrates Obama the most.

He regards Vladimir Putin as “not completely stupid” but “a thug … who doesn’t understand his own best interests”.

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