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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

USC Students
Undergraduate Leadership Class

USC Students

The Art and Adventure of Leadership is an upper-division leadership seminar taught each spring by University of Southern California President Steven B. Sample and Professor Warren Bennis.

Big Sticks and Know-It-All Relatives

No one, save President Obama himself, can truly know what his objectives were at the G-20 Summit, but my guess is he aimed to open up lines of verbal communication to increase the U.S.'s global economic influence. Wielding "the big stick" no longer works, because you end up hitting yourself on the back swing. Obama wisely trod the dangerous line between the fear of other countries and the need to assert himself. I am glad he did not draw lines in the sand because everyone is already on the same side. -- Conor H. Flaherty

Do you know the kind of relatives that think they know it all? Listening to people on a power trip gets tiring. I see this question posed in a way that allows for only one answer. It implies that a "saber" (which, I might add slices through true diplomacy) is the only effective way to showcase our power in the world. We live in the era of globalization -- where military strength is no longer the end-all-be-all and we are now more interconnected that ever. We can't leave that annoying relative's house, because now we live in it.

Obama did what was necessary: The world has been asking for an apology for eight years, he gave it. His saber will come in getting friends and foes on board to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban -- and he's using the best "saber" he has now -- his smile and his emotional intelligence. -- Nicolette Omoile


Much of Barack Obama's appeal to the country and the world has always been the way he's differentiated himself from Bush doctrine. If that was his goal, he started his term off on the right foot, by immediately ordering the naval base at Guantanamo Bay closed. I think it's wise of him to remain consistent in the message he's sending. Leaders who change their story too frequently risk losing their trustworthiness and credibility, which damages their ability to be effective in the future. -- Matt Potter

By USC Students

 |  April 9, 2009; 9:48 AM ET
Category:  Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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