The issue of who is a true leader, what makes someone a leader, what are his characteristics, has preoccupied man since the dawn of history.
One of the world’s most famous books, Machiavell ’ s The Prince, has as its aim to teach the prince the art of being a true leader. Nowadays there is a whole industry devoted to this.
And rightly so. Leadership is the key to the proper management of organizations from small shops to multi-national companies, to states. Let’s see how US President Barack Obama and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras compare in this role:
Americans elected as President a man who had great public speaking ability and an anti-war orientation.
But history had other plans for him. He tried not to get entangled in the Middle East. He collided with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s desire to bomb Iran.
He cancelled attacks on Syria literally at the last minute. He withdrew America’ s troops from Iraq. Soon they will be withdrawn from Afghanistan.
But along the way he ran into the terrorist organization ISIS. He was pressured both by the media and his political opponents to “demonstrate” leadership. He could no longer resist. He pulled the trigger.
Antonis Samaras was preparing all his life to become Prime Minister, to achieve the highest honor and distinction possible. It took him long to archieve his dream because of his rush to become Prime Minister.
Yet, since becoming Prime Minister, despite his long preparation and unquestionable qualifications, he has not grabbed – so far – the opportunity that history has generously offered him to distinguish himself by making big, historic, salvific decisions.
To implement reforms and to make a break with corruption, to confront the sclerotic establishment, to resolve the FYROM dispute with Skopje, to lead the country with determination during his rendezvous with history.
Obama tried to avoid doing what he must, but he ultimately did it. Samaras, while he must take action, does not. Maybe he misconceives the role of the leader and its relationship with power.