A leader represents his country and embodies it. In a country like Belgium the King is the very symbol of the nation , and a major part of its identity. In the television age, the image of the world leader is even more important than ever. You can't see pictures of Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong Il everyday and have a too-positive view of Zimbabwe or North Korea respectively. It has to be another benefit of democracy; The right of the majority to not be ruled by the ghastly-looking.
The old joke is that heaven is where the police are British, the cooks are French, the mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian and it's all organized by the Swiss. Hell is where the police are German, the cooks are English, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, and it's all organized by the Italians.
Since it's a beautiful world, we would expect Tony Blair to be like Herr Derrick, the Germane cop in the German series also called Derrick. We would expect Monsieur Chirac to look good with an apron beating down his round abdomen. The Italian capo, Prodi, should be like slick old Billy Clinton and a hero for the donne and ragazze of Italia. The Swiss leader would be anonymous, and nobody outside his family would know how he slaves 20 hours a day to keep everything moving like quantum motion. Whoever knows who the Swiss President is?
Stereotype: Formal, romantic-and-romanticising, in love with themselves.
Leader: Jacques Chirac
How: He uses the formal vous in speaking to his wife. He is to be seen at G8 summits bowing to kiss the hands of fair ladies. He speaks of Frenchness, and wants to resist the Anglicization of the French language.
Stereotype: The typical Chinese is anonymous, looks like any other, is incredibly good at math, and would chop a brick or two with his fist.
Leader: Hu Jintao
How: He does look like an everyman. His eyes give away his smart shrewd mind, and his reputation is definitely one of shrewdness. Has a military background.
Stereotype: Corrupt, chaotic and too-clever-by-half.
Leader: Olusegun Obasanjo
How: Himself and his selected deputy have been found to have questions to answer relating to the administration of a special fund. He is not even a University graduate but he has written several books with dubious, self-serving takes on the country's history. He has been criticised for emphasising governance revolving around himself over entrenching a rules-based system.
Stereotype: Laid-back, cool, rhythmic, and bordering on chaotic, is how a lot of people would describe the average Jamaican.
Leader: Portia Simpson-Miller
How: She has been labelled a "serial kisser", Miz Simpson-Miller's most popular photo is one of her in a foxy yellow pant suit and designer sunglasses. She has no qualms laying public gob-smacks on her man, corporate honcho Errald Miller.
Stereotype: Loves rye (or beer) and hockey, and has a secret wish to be American.
Leader: Stephen Harper
How: "Steve", as George W. would call him is on record as saying if you don't drink Canadian beer you're a pansy, and he regularly steals quotes from George W. Bush.
Country: United States of America
Stereotype: Brash, loud, knows nothing about the world, too-informal, with a preference for guns and violence.
Leader: George W. Bush
How: Think of Bush saying "bring 'em on", his unwanted massaging of German Chancellor, blonde Angela Merkel's shoulders, and his reaction to 9/11 by invading a country that did not commit the act. This was the guy who never left North America before he became President.
Stereotype: Uncouth, boorish, uncultured, sport-obsessed
Leader: John Howard
How: Mr. Howard regularly plants his foot in his mouth, one of the most recent episodes being his calling Barrack Obama the Osama Bin Laden candidate. He claimed to have been heart-broken when Oz crashed out of last year's World Cup, and his views about culture have alarmed even people on his side of the divide.
Stereotype: Richer-than-Santa Claus, libidinal and indomee noodle chomping.
Leader: Hassanal Bolkiah
How: Even the Sultan is reported to love noodles. What he does undoubtedly love is women. Despite getting credits for having two instead of four wives, he has been known to love a romp, including one related to the groping of young American beauty queens sojourning at his brother's 1788-room palace. He is, in a way, the stereotype of the tiny nation.