Monday 26 Feb 2018 | 00:56 | SYDNEY
Monday 26 Feb 2018 | 00:56 | SYDNEY

The Interpreter's World Leader of the Year



16 December 2008 13:53

I asked staff around the Institute who they thought could be named World Leader of the Year. As expected when you ask this kind of question to a bunch of smart people, they started interrogating my selection criteria, and as you'll see, in the end it was interpreted broadly by some...

  • Michael Fullilove: Barack Obama. Yes he did.
  • Graeme Dobell: Obama. Great rhetoric, tough politician. Beat both the Republicans and the Clintons. Redefined campaigns for the 21st century with an organisation that gushed cash off the web and grew campaign workers at the grass roots. The inevitable disappointments of his presidency will be deeper because of the hopes he has rasied. Merely by taking office, though, he will heal some of the grievous wounds inflicted on US international standing and deliver an instant top-up to US soft power.
  • Malcolm Cook: For me, the idea of the state has had a good 2008. The crises that have wreaked havoc on the world this year – food, energy then finance – have undermined faith in the unfettered market and re-emphasised the central economic role of the state. At the same time, these crises have also shown the extreme limits of international cooperation and ideas of a world beyond states.
  • Bill Bowtell: Obama. I was travelling in India and Indonesia in the week of the US elections and saw everywhere the optimism and enthusiasm for the new President. He has already provided the most valuable and intangible of all political commodities — hope. And his policy directions are unambiguously progressive. Whether and how he delivers on his promise remains to be seen. But faced with the utter ruin of the last two decades of economic and political orthodoxy, if he fails, the alternative is very bleak.
  • Peter McCawley: Minister Sri Mulyani, 47, a PhD graduate in economics from the University of Illinois, has played a major role in helping ensure the economic stability of Indonesia in recent years. By bolstering the Indonesian economy during the current financial crisis, she has made a key contribution to the wider stability of the region.
  • Mark Thirlwell: J M Keynes, closely followed by Hyman Minsky. And an honourable mention (?) for Thomas Malthus.
  • Andrew Shearer: General David Petraeus, for successfully implementing Bush’s surge strategy in Iraq and turning around a situation which most commentators had written off as hopeless.

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