Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Obama: “He’s a thinker, he thinks when he speaks . . . [and] he’s eager to listen”

A thinker in the Oval Office, and someone who listens. What a nice thing it is to have the leaders of other countries express respect for our president’s intelligence, human empathy, and ability to hear someone while in dialogue. Here’s Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in a recent interview, speaking of our President, Barack Obama:

He’s [a] very comfortable partner, it’s very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people — I won’t name anyone by name — he’s a thinker, he thinks when he speaks. Which is already pretty good. . . . He’s eager to listen to his partner, which is a pretty good quality for a politician. Because any politician is to a certain degree a mentor. They preach something. And the ability to listen to their partner is very important for the politician. And he is pretty deeply immersed in the subject, so he has a good knowledge of what he’s talking about. There was no instance in our meetings with Mr. Obama where he wasn’t well prepared for the questions. This is very good. And after all, he’s simply a very pleasant man with whom it’s a pleasure to deal with.

Would you switch out a man like this for Sarah Palin?


About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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9 Responses to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Obama: “He’s a thinker, he thinks when he speaks . . . [and] he’s eager to listen”

  1. andrewclunn says:

    I don’t think even the people on the right are pushing for Sarah Palin anymore.

    (It’s been to long since I made a contrarian comment.)

  2. jonolan says:

    I’m nowhere near sanguine about the supposed benefits to my nation a POTUS who rival / enemy leaders like and are comfortable with, and Russia definitely falls into the rival category…

    It’s a funny thing with Obama; all our rivals speak very highly of Obama and say that they appreciate his refreshing attitude – but they do nothing that he asks and curb none of their actions that speaks against.

    They seem to like him because they perceive him as weak and too spineless to hinder them.

  3. santitafarella says:


    You’re full of crap on this. Your measure of a politician shouldn’t be to what degree he or she can piss off and bewilder the rest of the world. We simply don’t have the luxury, in the 21st century, to treat global politics like the game of Risk. The weapons at our ready are simply too destructive, and the problems of one nation bleed across the borders to other nations. Like it or not, we are all together in this world, and we don’t have the luxury of isolation and stupidity.


    • jonolan says:

      It’s not a matter of “pissing off” the rest of the world; it’s about furthering America’s interests. Obama has largely failed, so far, at getting any meaningful compromises or action out of other world leaders with his attitude.

      That’s why I’m not too thrilled about Medvedev’s comments. It’s good that Obama is not feared or hated, but it’s bad that he’s not respected. Being liked is irrelevant – because global politics is not a game.

  4. jimlong says:

    Well said Santi.

    The American conservative line of thinking is out of line with the real world. I commend your President Obama for getting countries like the Ukraine to go in this direction.
    Actually, leaders across the world, especially here in Europe, hold Barack Obama in high regard. They, want to be in great standing with your leader. It is quite silly that the “weak” argument comes from his own country. But we understand that this is just politics.

    • santitafarella says:


      What I’m concerned with is this: if Republican “take no prisoners” obstructionist politics gets rewarded by voters over the next four years, then the model will extend to foreign policy. I hope Obama, and American moderates and liberals, can hold off our nutcases for just a couple more elections cycles. A decade from now, I think the demographic changes in the country will overwhelm the kind of politics that the Republicans now practice (it won’t win at the polls no matter how ginned up the Republican base gets for an election cycle). But that’s still a decade away. I’m rooting for Obama. His centrist brand of cooperative politics is the future. Republicans just haven’t figured that out yet.


  5. santitafarella says:


    American interests and the interests of other nations are intertwined. It is atrocious politics to think of American interests in isolation from other countries anymore. We’re not talking Las Vegas here: what happens in America doesn’t stay in America, and vice-versa. We have to figure out how to stop demonizing one another, and to negotiate living together on earth in ways that are win-win for everybody. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a good map. It’s the map that Obama’s obviously trying to navigate by. And Obama’s civil manner is the proper model for sane poltics in the 21st century. Our collective and shared dangers are huge—the most obvious being a single nuclear terror incident on any city anywhere in the world would goof up everybody’s life for decades. One nuclear terror instance anywhere ruins the entire global economy, and will breed reactionary authoritarian politics that will require brave pushback and resistance. We are all going to have to keep our heads about us, and learn to practice civility now. Obama is showing us the way on this.


    • jonolan says:

      We obviously have entirely disparate and antithetical views on nature of reality and the proper roles of nations, national cultures, and nation’s sovereignty, Santi.

      Since that is the case, there’s no point in our further discussing matters since deeds, not words, will solve for such differences.

  6. santitafarella says:


    Whatever our views of reality, reality will relentlessly assert itself. And I deny the value of breaking dialogue with other human beings. The human race, across its vast differences, must learn to stay in dialogue and hang together (or, as the saying goes, we shall all surely hang separately). Provincialism, demonization, and staying in the bubble of rectitude within your own community—refusing to dialogue with outsiders because their premises are simply too alien from your own—are archaic strategies ill-suited for this hour in history.


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