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Obama and Trudeau: Bromance & Geopolitics make the dinner photo Picture of the Century Candidate

That Barack Obama and Trudeau dinner. Bromance? Or a subliminal message to the geopolitical world ?

The Obamas in retirement: Obama and Trudeau at the Chili Liverpool House Restuarant in Montreal, Canada
Courtesy: The Obama Foundation/ Twitter
In the final months of his presidency,  insistently quizzed on his plans after office, Barack Obama indicated that he would spend his time mentoring the next generation of community leaders. Having earned his credentials through community mobilization, President Obama’s plan sounded unremarkable. But in a Politico October 2016 interview, Obama detailed what was going to be different, going forward, now that he had the benefit of a two term presidency.

Obama talks to young leaders in Berlin on getting involved

Politico quotes the President’s details of a new philosophy in community mobilization. A plan borrowed from an approach used by civil rights movement leaders. At the heart this strategy is intermittent engagement and disengagement with government/powers that be. These cycles of action being reminiscent of carrot ( consolidating small gains) and sticks (strikes/advocacy) approach.

Six months after the presidency,  under the invitation of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Obama was at the Montreal Chamber of Commerce delivering a talk (stick) on mitigating climate change. Later, Obama and Trudeau met up for a candle lit dinner for just about an hour.

Obama and Trudeau (France’s Macron too?), a bromance heralding a liberal future

Whilst unpacking the significance of the  Artificial Intelligence principles agreed upon by top scientists in Asilomar, California,  we identified community mobilization by organizations working in communities as one of the key action points in delivering an artificial intelligence future. Subsequent discussions here on the future of health research ethics have also identified a strong community engagement element in bridging the imaginary chasm between science, technology and society through a reflexive worldview.

Obama and Trudeau PR teams chose to front this  narrative illustrating  the central role of community mobilization/engagement in matching the needs of society and science.

Critically, this dinner happened in the aftermath of  Pres. Donald Trump’s much criticized take of climate change as the hoax of we 21st century.

“Obviously I’m disappointed with the current American administration decision to put out of Paris,” Mr Obama said.”We’re going to have to act with more urgency. I’m looking forward to the United States being a leader and not just on the sidelines going forward.”

Whilst climate change is an apt reminder of the science society conflict, the sheer broadness of these terms hides the nuances of it all. Like how terms likes sustainability are seen to be liberal while job creation is often taken to be conservative speak for pro Wall Street policies.  In this vein, questions like this one asked by the Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau in Trumpisim might take a new dimension altogether.

In this world of double speak that geopolitics is, one thing was clear though. Understandably, it was this was the thing the media chose to highlight. From talk of Obama and Trudeau sharing deep gazes into each others eyes to details on what they had for dinner to the over emphasis on the presence of candles on the tables in an obviously very well lit room.

This talk of a bromace between former U.S president Obama and Trudeau; comes hot in the heals of the equally over hyped ‘intimate’ moments between Trudeau and French president Emmanuel Macron at the G7. Whatever your heart feels about bromance, its undeniable that it remains a dicey affair.  A liberal affair.

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