Selasa, 21 Juli 2015


US President Barack Obama pines for the moment when he can leave the security bubble. After 24 hours inside it, I can see why.
Mr Obama and his daughter Sasha, 14, walk across a tarmac in New York on Friday. He taps her shoulder and points towards Manhattan, showing her the world, or at least his version of it.
What a place.
They fly on Air Force One to one of New York's airports - and minutes later arrive by helicopter in Manhattan.
Streets are blocked off, and their motorcade glides to the Upper East Side. They run red lights - at least 26 over the weekend. Along the way people cheer. At one point a woman in a flowery sundress holds up a handmade sign: "FREE HUGS".
It's a New York fantasy, one of the perks of Mr Obama's job. He travels in a security zone, a "bubble" as it's known - a tightly managed network of aircrafts, vehicles and communication that lets him move easily around the world.
The bubble provides safety, but it's confining. In a recent briefing he sounded wistful about an upcoming trip to Kenya, his father's homeland. He made it clear he'd rather go without security restrictions.
"I'll be honest with you, visiting Kenya as a private citizen is probably more meaningful to me than visiting as president," Mr Obama said. "Because I can actually get outside of a hotel room or a conference centre."
He still has 18 months left in the bubble, though. For that reason it's worth looking at the experience - and considering what it means in terms of his worldview.
The presidential bubble is thick - and pricey. Mr Obama rides in the motorcade in a limousine known as the Beast, which is designed to withstand bullets and chemical attacks.
Mr Obama flies on a Boeing 747 jet that costs $180,000 (£116,000) per hour to operate - and can be refuelled in the middle of a flight. Electronic equipment on board is designed to withstand all kinds of duress, including force from an electromagnetic pulse, according to White House officials.
On the aircraft Mr Obama has a suite with its own bathroom, as well as an office and a conference room. He has access to classified material, and he can communicate with military officials if the US is under attack or is facing another kind of emergency.

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