Using A RantAWeek to clarify the complexities of news.
Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud- Iran
The current president of Iran, Ahmadinejad is widely viewed as a conservative. He has drawn international criticism for many human rights violations and often finds himself in a tense relationship with Israel. Domestically, due to Iran’s complicated political structure, executive power is not solely invested in him, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei also holds some political power. His aggressive international policies have sparked new economic sanctions that have damaged the Iranian economy.
Al-Assad, Bashir- Syria
The President of Syria, Assad was quick to send the Syrian army against the beginnings of an Arab Spring Revolution, instigating a series of bloody clashes that have killed thousands. Many western leaders have called for action to be taken against his rule, but the notable exceptions of Russia and China in calls to remove him from power have halted international action. Currently, his forces are under a ceasefire with rebel forces.
Cameron, David- United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Cameron is a conservative but leads a coalition government. His Conservatives have been forced to partner with the Liberal Democrats, who are headed by Nick Clegg, who is the deputy Prime Minister. Internationally, Cameron has worked to separate Britain from problems related to the E.U. debt crisis and has largely acted as a bystander to economic affairs of the European continent.
Castro, Raul and Fidel- Cuba
Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba after his revolutionary activities helped spawn the Cuban Revolution. Under his oversight, Cuba became a communist state. After five decades of rule, Fidel stepped down, citing his age, and passed the control of Cuba to his younger brother, Raul. Under the last few years of Raul’s rule, some capitalist reforms have been made, but Cuba remains largely under communist influences.
Fernandez de Kirchner, Christina- Argentina
The current President of Argentina, Christina Kirchner was elected following the presidency of her husband. As Argentina’s President, she has overseen a period of large economic growth, but also has experienced large inflation.
Hollande, Francois- France
Farther to the left than his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, the newly elected President of France is challenging many of the current techniques being used to combat the European Debt Crisis. His election presents a different and untested attempt to improve financial issues, although it may also complicate relations with Germany and Angela Merkel.
Hu Jintao- China
China’s president, Mr. Hu must step down from his various leadership roles over the next year under Chinese laws. During his tenure, he has worked to expand China’s economic power on the world stage and has been a critic of foreign intervention in countries like Syria. Domestically, he has faced criticism for human rights violations.
Karzai, Hamid- Afghanistan
The President of Afghanistan, Karzai has worked closely with the United States in order to combat the Taliban’s activities within his country. More recently, Karzai has offered to negotiate with the Taliban, who still control much of his country. His plan is to come to accords with the Taliban’s leadership to further peace in the war-torn area.
Merkel, Angela- Germany
The Chancellor of Germany, Merkel belongs to the Christian Democratic Union Party. She has taken a leadership role in combating the E.U. debt crisis, often working with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy in a partnership that helped to expedite monetary reforms dealing to the debt crisis. She has been a fervent supporter of bailouts to provide emergency funds for cash strapped entities, but also maintains that these bailouts should be coupled with cost-cutting austerity measures.
Monti, Mario- Italy
The Prime Minister of Italy, Monti was given the position after the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi in the wake of the E.U. debt crisis. Monti has a background in economics, and because most of Italy’s troubles right now deal with their deep economic woes, Monti’s government has been charged with fixing Italy’s economy and setting Italy back on a course for prosperity.
Morsi, Mohamed – Egypt
Following an Arab Spring Revolution, Egypt went through a long transitional period headed by the army. However, in Egypt’s first free presidential elections ever, Morsi was able to win. He has since been working to consolidate power from the army. He is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and endorses political Islam, but is also a moderate.
Mugabe, Robert- Zimbabwe
The President of Zimbabwe, Mugabe rules over one of the poorest nations in the world. Following a bout of heavy inflation that destroyed the national economy, Mugabe was forced to accept a power-sharing deal with opposition leaders.
Netanyahu, Benjamin- Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel, Netanyahu has been criticized by some for his controversial move to expand Israeli settlements into the West Bank. Internationally, Netanyahu has had some harsh criticisms for the Iranian regime led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The rhetoric used by both countries has led to tensions and threats of violence in the region.
Obama, Barack- United States
The President of the United States, Barack Obama belongs to the Democratic Party. Domestically, he has been an advocate for healthcare reform and expansion of social programs. Internationally, he has worked to maintain America’s policy of engaging adversaries, including taking a leading role in the NATO intervention in Libya.
Pena Nieto, Enrique, Mexico
The President of Mexico, Pena Nieto is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which had single party rule over Mexico for decades in the latter half of the twentieth century. However, Pena Nieto has partially distanced himself from the party’s corruption with his tough anti-cartel stances. Still, Pena Nieto faces an uphill battle both to fix Mexico’s drug problems and its stumbling economy.
Putin, Vladimir- Russia
A member of the United Russia Party, Putin served as President of Russia from 2000 to 2008, but due to constitutional term limits, stepped down to the position of Prime Minister. In 2012, he was once again eligible to run for president and won easily. However, there were many charges of election fraud. Internationally, Putin has tried to expand Russia’s interests in Eastern Europe and has criticized calls for intervention in Syria.
Rousseff, Dilma- Brazil
The President of Brazil, Rousseff was elected after being the chosen successor of Brazil’s wildly popular ex-President Lula de SIlva. Domestically, she has worked to combat the influence of drug cartels in the nation’s cities and has prepared for the Olympics that will come to Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Internationally, she has worked to increase Brazil’s standing as a global economic power.
Singh, Manmohan- India
The Prime Minister of India, Singh has worked to combat unemployment within his country. As part of a plan to modernize his country, Singh has opened up India to increased investment from foreign companies and reduced regulations. Internationally, Singh often finds himself at odds with India’s rival and neighbor, Pakistan.
Zardari, Asif Ali- Pakistan
The President of Pakistan, many feared that there would be a coup attempt against him. Army leaders, over the past few months, have seemingly grown hostile to his rule, although they have stated that no coup will occur. His presidency has been marked with corruption in the eyes of Pakistan’s people. He has also faced difficult tensions with Pakistan’s neighbor, India.