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Greatest 21st Century Political Leader Poll (ROUND 2)


vcczar
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Greatest 21st Century Political Leader Poll (ROUND 2)  

13 members have voted

  1. 1. Of the remaining 21st century leaders, who is the greatest?

    • Barack Obama, USA
      0
    • Shinzo Abe, Japan
    • Elizabeth II, UK
    • Angela Merkel, Germany
    • Jacinda Adern, New Zealand

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  • Poll closed on 05/03/2021 at 11:41 PM

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For me, it comes down to Merkel and Ardern, but I'll have to go with Ardern. Both of the two have plenty of imperfections, but I see more potential with Ardern because she still has plenty of time in office and a clear mandate from the public of New Zealand to fix the problems plaguing the nation. Her crisis management abilities are some of the best we've seen, even if her ability to deal with COVID partially comes from New Zealand's status as an island nation. If she were to end her second term without making much of an improvement to the Quality of Life in her country, then she would no longer be ranked as highly for me, but she could easily end up as the standard-bearer for Social Democracy throughout the world if she lives up to her potential.

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Definitely Merkel and it isn't really close. No one managed to move through crisis after crisis like she did and make it up on the other end largely unscathed politically. Abe as a person is definitely a little bit concerning - denying that Korean comfort women existed during World War II is more than cause for concern. He had several scandals that severely harmed his reputation. Queen Elizabeth is a good leader, no denying that, but she isn't in the position to have to make actual decisions like Merkel has. Ardern is too untested. She's done fine so far, but there's a lot left to go. And Obama...was fair. Not greatest 21st century politician material. Merkel has had the experience, the wit, and the tenacity to lead Europe's largest country for nearly two decades. Her party was flying in the polls last year because of her primarily. Now it's beginning to sag for multiple reasons, but partially because her steady hand isn't there to guide them anymore. She had courage and showed a gentle hand when everyone else was showing doors - not something many expected of Germany after the euro crisis and *ahem* history. The world will be worse off without her for sure.

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3 hours ago, Hestia said:

Definitely Merkel and it isn't really close. No one managed to move through crisis after crisis like she did and make it up on the other end largely unscathed politically. Abe as a person is definitely a little bit concerning - denying that Korean comfort women existed during World War II is more than cause for concern. He had several scandals that severely harmed his reputation. Queen Elizabeth is a good leader, no denying that, but she isn't in the position to have to make actual decisions like Merkel has. Ardern is too untested. She's done fine so far, but there's a lot left to go. And Obama...was fair. Not greatest 21st century politician material. Merkel has had the experience, the wit, and the tenacity to lead Europe's largest country for nearly two decades. Her party was flying in the polls last year because of her primarily. Now it's beginning to sag for multiple reasons, but partially because her steady hand isn't there to guide them anymore. She had courage and showed a gentle hand when everyone else was showing doors - not something many expected of Germany after the euro crisis and *ahem* history. The world will be worse off without her for sure.

Merkel was definitely my close 2nd choice.

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I would love to hear @Dobs and @vcczar's greater thoughts on Shinzo Abe and his economic policies. We covered him extensively in a class on Japanese government and politics and government that I took just prior to his resignation, and I came out with a lot more respect for him and his policies than I would have expected. His Abenomics in particular were praised by the IMF and the world at large as effectively accomplishing its goals unless there's something that has changed in the perception of his economic policies since I've kept up with Japanese politics. Not to mention, I'm a believer that Japan SHOULD be allowed to raise their own military in name. They already have a self defense force that could be utilized to protect themselves in practice (and likely could be justified as going overseas to attack China/North Korea if another world war were to break out anyway), so its not like we've actually kept them from militarizing in the first place. 

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18 minutes ago, Cal said:

Not to mention, I'm a believer that Japan SHOULD be allowed to raise their own military in name. They already have a self defense force that could be utilized to protect themselves in practice (and likely could be justified as going overseas to attack China/North Korea if another world war were to break out anyway), so its not like we've actually kept them from militarizing in the first place. 

Abe toed the line of wanting to increase the military and being a nationalist that denied what happened to China and Korea in WW2. That's the dangerous part about that position, and he definitely stood too close to the edge in my opinion.

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30 minutes ago, Patine said:

Abe Shinzo (proper order of names in Japanese - why do Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese people ALWAYS get their proper name order in U.S. media, but Japanese people only do if they're historical, and Hungarian people never seem to?) 

''Nevertheless, when a Japanese name is written in the Roman alphabet, ever since the Meiji era official policy has been to cater to Western expectations and reverse the order, but as of 2019 the government has stated its intention to change this policy.''

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_name

I can assure you that at least the Department of Japanese Studies in Vienna prefers their students to use the original Japanese order even in a transcript.

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On 4/26/2021 at 11:32 AM, Cal said:

I would love to hear @Dobs and @vcczar's greater thoughts on Shinzo Abe and his economic policies. We covered him extensively in a class on Japanese government and politics and government that I took just prior to his resignation, and I came out with a lot more respect for him and his policies than I would have expected. His Abenomics in particular were praised by the IMF and the world at large as effectively accomplishing its goals unless there's something that has changed in the perception of his economic policies since I've kept up with Japanese politics. Not to mention, I'm a believer that Japan SHOULD be allowed to raise their own military in name. They already have a self defense force that could be utilized to protect themselves in practice (and likely could be justified as going overseas to attack China/North Korea if another world war were to break out anyway), so its not like we've actually kept them from militarizing in the first place. 

I only know basics about Shinzo Abe. My knowledge of history and politics outside of the US and Europe is probably just better than the average college student, nothing I can pretend to pontificate about. My history of Asia is mostly focused on China and 1st and 2nd century at that. 

I selected him for this poll primarily because he's been the largest presence as PM for Japan in the 21st century and because his name appears in the news much more than other leaders.  

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4 minutes ago, Patine said:

I assure you, his policies and ideals are ones you've very much already shown great distaste for when referring to certain American politicians and planks.

I pretty much assume that even the more conservative of the major parties (those eligible of reaching the highest office) of Western and Central Europe, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand are left of America's Democratic party in many way. 

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1 minute ago, Patine said:

Then consider Abe, and his party, to be a surprise. He's a hard, revisionist Japanese nationalist, an utter denialist of WW2 atrocities, more pitiless to the poor and downtrodden than most modern Republicans can PUBLICALLY be, is so corporatist, he believes Government should nothing on pensions, medical, or any safety net - that corporate employers should provide these schemes for their employees to build employment loyalty (most Japanese corporations do), he is on record of telling a Western reporter that the terms, "sexist," and, "homophobic," "don't exist in Japanese," and he originally carried on the one saving grace in this area his party - the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan - had over Republicans - post-WW2 Japanese national non-militarism - until his re-armament scheme.

If this is true (and I don't doubt you), then yes, he's awful. Seems like a Netanyahu or Erdogan of Japan or something.

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On 4/28/2021 at 10:50 PM, vcczar said:

I pretty much assume that even the more conservative of the major parties (those eligible of reaching the highest office) of Western and Central Europe, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand are left of America's Democratic party in many way. 

Conservatives and Liberals in South Korea by US Standards.

North Korea (often the deciding factor): Conservatives are more hardline, Liberals are more appeasement. Far-Left have a pro-North Korean tendency

Think:

Left/Far-Left: Mike Gravel, De Linke, George Galloway, maybe the Huffington Post

Liberals: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, (CDU, Greens, FDP, SDP in Germany)

Centrist: Maybe the AFD in Germany

Conservatives/Right: George W. Bush, Barack Obama

Far-Right: John Bolton, Lindsey Graham

I don't think ideology matters as much in South Korea as in the US. Indeed, a considerable of these Conservatives used to be Far-Left student protesters. Generally, Far-Right doesn't generally mean anti-immigrant, racist, etc., but extreme anti-North Korea, anti-Communist, pro-USA. Indeed, the Far-Right political party (Our Republican Party) is really a President Park Geun-hye fan club. There is a party similar to the American/European Far-Right known as the Dawn of Liberty. It gained only 0.39% in the at-large seats.

Role of Government: Both are like the liberals/left in USA, but Conservatives are more pro-business.

Healthcare: Universal Healthcare (Single-payer). Many people have private insurance, though.

Islam: Anti-Islam attitudes exist, but hardly even an issue. Muslims probably comprise like 0.1% of the population. No stupid laws like the burka ban.

UBI: Widely accepted

Abortion: Both pro-choice, though a few pro-lifers. Hardly an issue.

Gay marriage: Liberals are probably like the Republicans, Conservatives are probably like the Tea-Party Republicans

Guns: Far-Left (Stricter than even the UK)

Environment: Climate change is accepted

Middle East: Not even an issue. Good/OK relations with Israel, the Gulf Countries, and Iran (unless you count a recent incident in the Strait of Hormuz)

Minimum Wage: Calls have been made from both left and right (more left) to raise it to 12000 won (about $11). Some hard-right conservatives oppose the minimum wage.

Drugs: Right Wing or Far-Right (10 years for repeatedly smoking Marijuana. Hardly an issue.)

Socialism/Social Democracy: The Justice Party has some support (10% in at-large seats) , but Socialism's support is not like Europe.

Economy: Corporations/Conglomerates/Chaebols have strong control of the economy. They control 10%

Donald Trump: Hated by South Koreans. In 2016, a poll found 82% support Clinton, 3% Trump. In 2020, another poll found 59% supported Biden, 15% supported Trump.

Role of USA: Conservatives are generally pro-America. Liberals less so. Far-Right extreme Pro-USA. Far-Left exreme anti-America.

Immigration: Not a big issue. Liberals unclear. Some Conservatives may accept some (like those fleeing oppression and religious persecution). Some conservatives are extremely anti-immigrant (kinda like Europe's Far-Right parties. Indeed Trump's USA accepts more immigrants than South Korea).

Religion: Unlike America, Evangelical Christians are not committed to one party. They may be more for the Conservatives because of social issues, but the Liberals aren't too liberal either. Indeed, Buddhists are slightly more Conservative than Christians.

Covid-19: People wear masks and do social distancing unlike USA or Europe.

Unions: Liberals are more pro-union. Conservatives are anti-unions because of violence and hard-left, pro-North Korean sentiment.

Race: Probably left in the US's political spectrum. However, South Korea is more racist than the US. Marrying with another ethnic group is likely to frowned upon (MBC actually aired a documentary claiming that all white men who marry Korean women are predators)

Edited by Timur
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