In recent days, the unflattering views of former U.S. President Barack Obama on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have been revealed in his new book, A Promised Land.
Obama said: "Netanyahu could be charming, or at least solicitous," Obama writes. "But his vision of himself as the chief defender of the Jewish people against calamity allowed him to justify almost anything that would keep him in power."
CNN now reveals Obama's views on former world leaders he worked with throughout his tenure.
About Russian President Putin, Obama wrote that he reminds him of some of the leaders of the political system in the city of Chicago where he was community organizer after his studies. Putin was "like a ward boss, except with nukes and a UN Security Council veto," Obama writes. For people like him: "life was a zero-sum game; you might do business with those outside your tribe, but in the end, you couldn't trust them."
On Angela Merkel, Obama wrote that he found her "analytical" and confirmed reports she was initially skeptical of his oratory. "I took no offense, figuring that as a German leader, an aversion to possible demagoguery was probably a healthy thing."
One of the leaders with whom Obama developed a particularly good relationship was former British Prime Minister David Cameron, whom he described as having an impressive command of issues, despite disapproving of Cameron's Tory philosophy of deficit reduction and budget cuts. The privileged PM had "the breezy confidence of someone who'd never been pressed too hard by life," he notes.
Compared to "analytical" Merkel, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was described by Obama as "all emotional outbursts and overblown rhetoric," and though often exasperating, Obama also found him amusing and appreciated his "boldness, charm and manic energy."
Obama had a particularly difficult meeting with former Chinese President Hu Jintao. Obama complains one encounter was a "sleepy affair" and that his attempts to lighten the mood during their interminable meetings usually drew a "blank stare."