The Greatest World Leaders of the 21st Century

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I believe that a great leader is one that has a vision, serves his or her people, and is a person of strong character and integrity. I also think that they possess great leadership traits and live up to the expectations of their followers. Since Angela Merkel was voted in as the chancellor of Germany back in 2005, she has transformed German politics tremendously. Her achievements both home and abroad have made her top the list of Forbes most powerful woman eight times. In 2015, she was named Time magazines person of the year and matches the qualities of a good leader mentioned above. This essay looks at why Angela Merkel and Barrack Obama are great world leaders.

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A notable merit of Angela Merkel is what she has done for the German economy. While most of her fellow leaders of European nations were finished off by the financial crisis, she has flourished under it. She skillfully fought off a long-term recession in her country during the global economic crisis by shortening working hours and introducing economic stimulus packages. While workers worked less, their earnings were topped up by the government as opposed to their employers. Consequently, Germany thrived in the crisis.

Obama has always been for civil rights. since he assumed political office, he has consistently spoken on behalf of the underdogs, the disenfranchised and the most controversial society members. This is despite the fact that doing so comes at the cost of a great political capital. A good example is the way he gave outspoken support marriages. This has always been a civil rights and legal issues as opposed to a moral one as some conservatives may want people to believe. The fact that Obama openly supported gay marriages highlights his core values as well as his inherently belief in true justice for all (Sharma, & Uwe, 95).

Merkel has never shied away from being a lone voice and is used to minority platforms. For one, she hails from East Germany, getting into politics jus when Germany had just been unified in the 1990s at a time when easterners were still being considered as aliens. Also, she is a Protestant, who is divorced in the predominantly Catholic party. According to Jerome, Jerome-Speziari, and Lewis-Beck (479), Merkels educational background is not in international relations or politics considering that she studied quantum chemistry. In addition, she is a woman; something that has made her stand on her own most of the times.

Chancellor Merkels strength in office is evident in the fact that she is serving her third term in office. She will go down in the history of Germany and that of Europe as a leader with a lot of staying power and as one with some historic achievements- especially if she pulls it off saving the euro. While she has decided to run for a fourth term, what she plans to do after stepping down is still pure speculation. There is a strong possibility that she might become the secretary-general of the United Nations or European Council President Sheeler and Anderson, 492).

Her values have helped redeem the reputation of Germany from the past. The country has spent the past seven decades testing antidotes to its toxic genocidal and military past. Perhaps the best antidotes are Merkels generosity, humanity and tolerance. In 2015, there are a number of occasions when these values have come in handy, such as her response to the Greek financial crisis, Putin activities in the Ukraine, or the terrorist attacks in Paris. According to Moravcsik, (180), when such events revived the policy of trusting no one, Merkel was not afraid of making her stand known, even if it meant more time for her as the lone voice.

The energy reforms that Merkel put in place also make her a top world leader. Soon after the Fukushima disaster, she announced the shutting down of Germanys 17 nuclear reactors, with others being phased out by the year 2022. This shutting down was part of a long-term transition to alternative sources of energy that won her significant support from all angles. It has also boosted the countrys standing as a world leader when it comes to energy reforms in an effort to deal with global warming.

Works Cited

Jerome, Bruno, Veronique Jerome-Speziari, and Michael S. Lewis-Beck. "A political-economy forecast for the 2013 German elections: Who to rule with Angela Merkel?." PS: Political Science & Politics 46.03 (2013): 479-480.

Moravcsik, Andrew. "Angela Merkel: A Chancellorship Forged in Crisis." (2013): 180-181.

Sheeler, Kristina Horn, and Karrin Vasby Anderson. "Gender, Rhetoric, and International Political Systems: Angela Merkel's Rhetorical Negotiation of Proportional Representation and Party Politics." Communication Quarterly62.4 (2014): 474-495.

Sharma, Dinesh, and Uwe P. Gielen. The Global Obama: Crossroads of Leadership in the 21st Century. Routledge. 2013. Print.

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