a google search I just did the World Almanac, there are 193 countries in the world right now. And whether you’re in charge of a rich military power or a tiny island dictatorship, being the boss comes with a lot of perks. But with so many nations to choose from, how are you to know which ones have the coolest leaders? If you find yourself at the U.N. summer barbeque, you don’t want to waste your time sidling up to some boring egghead. There are some people out there that rate leaders on the basis of arbitrary and politically-charged factors like efficiency, corruption, or how genocidal they are. But here at Hamsterdam, we’re rating them based on how much we’d like to hang out with them.
Bio: After serving as Vice President for several years, Goodluck rose to the presidency in 2010 and recently won reelection.
Pros: In addition to having a great name and a stylish hat, Goodluck is a passionate sports fan. When Nigeria failed to advance beyond the group stage of the 2010 World Cup, he banned the Nigerian national team from all future international play. This is a man of my own heart. I’d love to be able to have my irrational actions after heart-breaking losses backed by the force of law and military.
Cons: He has vowed to tackle the corruption that causes Nigeria’s economy to stagnate. Unfortunately, corruption is one of Nigeria’s leading industries. Drawing the ire of government officials, the police, and organized crime is often a dangerous strategy for being reelected and remaining alive.
Final verdict: He’d be great to watch a game with, but e-mailing him to arrange your meeting leaves you wide open to identity theft.
Nursultan Nazarbayez, President of Kazakhstan
Bio: Nasty Naz, as he prefers to be called, has been president of Kazakhstan since it gained independence in 1991. He is noted for maintaining a balance when it comes to relations with the United States and Russia. He also survived the great Borat scandal of 2006.
Pros: He has used Kazakhstan’s oil riches to deposit at least $1 billion in his bank account, meaning that he’s buying wherever you go. He also has asked the scientific and medical communities in Kazakhstan to research the possibility of human immortality, so endear yourself to him and you could become invincible.
Cons: He has been re-elected several times, only once winning fewer than 90% of the vote. I’m not out to criticize people for rigging elections because, well, it’s fun. But you have to be more subtle about it. 90% is just a slap in the face. I didn’t even win 90% of the vote for 3rd grade class president after promising no homework Fridays and free cupcake Mondays. [Granted, though, I’m not sure a guy in his late twenties is eligible to be 3rd grade class president, but they never asked for my long form birth certificate]. Such arrogance in fixing elections is inevitably going to cause some discontent amongst the populace, especially if you end up living forever.
Final verdict: He’d be great to hang out with, but his long term prospects aren’t good, even if that immortality thing works out.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina
Bio: Cristina and her late husband both entered politics in the ’70s and quickly rose through the ranks of Argentinian government. She served as first lady while he was president, and then he returned the favor by serving as first senor when she was elected president in 2007. She is known for her tough attitude, her refusal to back down when faced with media criticism, and her status as a fashion icon.
Pros: It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see the benefits of hanging out with a South American fashion icon that enjoys lavish parties with celebrities.
Cons: Unlike some great world leaders, she hasn’t been able to stamp out the free press and they really seem to have it out for her. Also, unlike many leaders she actually has to win reelection. Election rigging used to be chic in South America, but Argentina has bought into this “democracy” fad that the youngsters like so much.
Final verdict: Great potential, but her glorious reign could be over before you can say “Don’t cry for me, Argentina.”
Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy
Bio: Berlusconi rose to power quickly. In 1994, he founded a party, was elected to parliament, and named prime minister. He’s served three stints as prime minister, making him the second-longest serving prime minister in Italian history, after Mussolini.
Pros: Where to begin? He’s one of the richest men in the world, with a fortune estimated at nearly $8 billion. He’s known as a practical joker. [Imagine the practical jokes you can pull off with $8 billion at your disposal!] He once tried to seduce the president of Finland and openly flirted with Germany’s chancellor at international summits. He complimented President Obama on his “tan.” And, as is standard with any Italian leader, he’s been linked romantically with numerous models, dancers, and prostitutes. And before you ask- yes, he is on the mafia’s good side.
Cons: ….Can’t think of any. Instead, here’s a picture of one of his mistresses.
Final Verdict: We have a winner!