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April 14, 2010

Obama’s Summit


My main take-away here, mindful of the radical difference between Bush and Dubya, and how Obama is really beginning to apply his vision to the presidency, and how Obama is so about disarming, and how everybody’s caucusing, is:

Community organizer … to the world.

(photo: Chuck Kennedy/White HousePresident Barack Obama talks with President Lee Myung-bak of Korea during the first plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2010. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina works at right.)

  • Seitan Worshiper

    That’s all very well, but was that a Freudian slip: “…the radical difference between Bush and Dubya…”?

  • futurebird

    Ha! nice catch, Seitan. As a progressive I had low expectations for Obama. I thought he would be like Clinton. He has been a far better president than I ever could have hoped for and I feel OK about working so hard to get him in office no regrets. I did have a few months where I thought he might be like Dub. But not so much now. Some of my friends, who make war their central issue do not agree. They have good reason.

  • DennisQ

    Obama’s background in community organizing informs his unique style of leadership. Everybody has to have a stake in the stability of the outcome; otherwise the next wave will just wash away whatever was accomplished. Republicans mis-read his overtures to them as weakness. They were wrong, and now they’re trying to figure out how to stop the guy.
    The picture shows Obama leaning forward to hear what the Koreans have to offer. Korea’s not a nuclear power, but the picture shows that Obama wants to bring the whole world on board. President Lee’s animated hand gestures show his appreciation that Obama is paying such close attention. I can’t imagine Bush leaning forward to hear anybody, much less the president of Korea.

  • Megan

    Besides the sight of women doing intellectual work, I like this shot for how much it displays thought and communication. That’s what those people are doing. It isn’t a picture about force, or symbols of patriotism, or weapons. You can practically see the shining columns of thought at the center of those circles of people. It is lovely.

  • Rafael

    I noticed (on the BBC) how Obama greeted each world leader. He tailored his greeting to each, transitioning between the different social expectations of each, something that Bush could never master.

  • Blue Shark

    …I like that Joe Biden and his 35 years of international experience is on board every step of the way.
    …Far different than being in some undisclosed bunker somewhere.

  • DennisQ

    I like the fact that Dick Cheney is back in his undisclosed bunker. Even his pizza delivery guy doesn’t know where he is.

  • Ursula L

    The gender balance in this photo is interesting. On the left, Obama talking with a group that is all men, except for one women, and on the right, a separate discussion that is all women except for one man. Tokenism in a still largely gender-segregated discussion?
    Interesting color balance in the photo as well. The one woman in Obama’s conversation is in the male uniform of white shirt and dark suit creating a homogeneous look for that grouping, while the female conversation on the other side is dominated by the bright orange suit, and to a lesser extent the white suit. Even the hair – all dark in Obama’s conversation, different colors in the women’s conversation.

  • gmoke

    The background makes the picture seem as if it is split right down the middle. I first thought it was two pictures side by side. Yes, to the gender mirroring, women on the left and men on the right with a ringer in each group. Concentration in the huddles around the two leaders (US and Argentina) and the red lights and lenses of the cameras behind them in the blue shadows. One woman in the middle on a phone. Everybody’s working.

  • Jerry

    Well, we’re talking about Korea. Dark hair (with auburn highlights visible in the sun) is pretty much the norm – and it’s still very much a patrocentric and homogeneous culture.
    I really like the pic.

  • Vigilante Sozadee

    Afghanistan is a major issue. And one reason it’s a major issue is that the economy is the primary issue. And Afghanistan is a major-league drag on the budget. 85% of the discussions of the budget/deficit omit mention of Afghanistan. That’s obscene. I’m sure it was a strategic calculation on the part of Obama’s advisors to appease the M.I.C. on Afghanistan. But it was still appeasement.

  • Vigilante Sozadee

    Yessiree! My Obama signs went up in my front yard in February ‘08 and I have never wavered. I have bitterly objected to his appointments. But BHO is a multi-talented, multi-faceted POTUS. A national treasure of historic proportions.

  • Rafael

    Also, it could be that the other people are aids to the heads of state. The Argentinian President probably feels comfortable with women around her while the South Korean president prefers mostly males.

  • a korean expat

    On Lee, Myungbak:
    I just want to gossip…if you let me…
    Visuals are to be captured; for that purpose, we can arrange the props or plan the scene. Hence, we are often left with the visual display of power capturing a passing moment.
    Going back to Lee, I have a visceral reaction to this man.
    Such a fraud…an inside-trading white-collar criminal…who knowingly made a false promise that he would “give away” a house for each newly-married couple, college kids will have to pay only half of their current tuition…if only the voters give him the presidency…
    What else did he knowingly lie about that the gullible Korean voters bought dreaming a pipe dream? It makes me sick to the stomach to think about this person. Now, he is trying to PRIVATIZE medicine, already having contracted away the four main rivers of Korea to be concreted up for sailing cruise ships and river-bank pleasure districts, monopolizing Korean media, and driving the ex-president Roh, Moo-hyun into an honor suicide…
    The most recent target of this man is the first female prime minister of Korea. His dogs, I mean the judiciary branch, barked and daubed their “poo” on her, saying a man who is in trial for embezzlement came forward to say once he left $ 50,000 on a chair after having dinner with her so that Prime Minister Han could pick up the envelop of dirty money…Do you think I am exaggerating? I am not trying to mock your common sense, either.
    I cannot pass judgment on Bush no matter how despicable and anti-democratic his policies and personality I found to be; he might have been delusional to think he was doing something good and necessary, even though it is possible that he was and is a snide Machiavelli. I am not and do not intend to be one to judge others’ quality of mind (or faith).
    But guys, listen, as a Korean expat who still grieves the death (political assassination by proxy, which it was) of President Roh, I have to say what Obama endeavors to engage is a piece of a rotten human soul, a Mammonite, a murderer, just the basest human specimen. If you think Bush was a disaster for America, Lee, believe me, is Mammon’s own scourge to Korea.
    By the way, the Korean fleet that sunk into the Yellow Sea and Korea’s hosting of the next nuclear summit, which seated Lee right next to Obama, have something to do with each other–not on a strategic level but in a conciliatory patchwork kind of way…if you get what I am trying to insinuate.
    It is a good thing for that man Lee to be taken for an equal human being to Obama, but for one man’s powerful sense of ego and personal vindication a whole nation of people being cheated and hoodwinked and oppressed, I call that “despicable.” At this moment when Lee “masturbates” on this image, Koreans are recovering the bodies of forty-six marines who were abandoned as dead for the last twenty days in the murky waters since Lee could not make up his mind on how to spin this tragedy. I just want to cry for the dead and desecrated…
    Visuals may elevate or enhance some piece of an “object,” as in the case above. Lee is not what Obama or any decent human being for that matter wants to share his time or breathing air with. All of my body parts avouch this conviction of mine.

  • Jason

    Joe Biden: Vice President, US Senator,…., Head Bouncer in charge. Seriously though, my eye was drawn to Joe, clearly blocking in the backfield. The countries that came but didn’t meet the criteria got a ton of time with the VP. I love the image as Obama the coach and the S. Koreans are “in the zone”. I’m very proud of the both our President and Vice President. 4 more years.

  • Bill

    I think you’re painting with too broad a brush. Much of the Military Industrial Complex, certainly the R&D wings, have hated the Iraqistan wars. Theirs were the first budgets to be raided to pay the Haliburtons and Blackwaters. True, there are plenty of losers in this war, like those who have lost their LIFE, but it’s just not true that all of the MIC were financial winners. And this causes unexpected loss to the economy at large as well. Like it or not, there’s at least some “spin-off” benefit to society at large from a lot of high-tech military hardware development. But spending billions on welding steel plate to Humvees? Not so much.

  • Kathryn in MA

    I love this photo! If you look at the bifurcation (amazing how so many things lined up by chance) as two countries in their own cubes, it is amazing how far out of his home court and into R. of Korea’s Pres Obama has gone – that is a diplomat!

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