Inert Obama seems to think being on the right side of history is enoughRoundup
… The preferred explanation for the president’s detachment is psychological. He’s checked out. Given up. Let down and disappointed by the world, he is in withdrawal.
Perhaps. But I’d propose an alternate theory that gives him more credit: Mr. Obama’s passivity stems from an idea. When Mr. Obama says Mr. Putin has placed himself on the wrong side of history in Ukraine, he actually believes it. He disdains realpolitik because he believes that, in the end, such primitive 19th-century notions as conquest are self-defeating. History sees to their defeat.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” is one of Mr. Obama’s favorite sayings. Ultimately, injustice and aggression don’t pay. The Soviets saw their 20th-century empire dissolve.
More proximally, U.S. gains in Iraq and Afghanistan were, in time, liquidated. Ozymandias lies forever buried and forgotten in desert sands.
Remember when, at the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, Mr. Obama tried to construct for Mr. Putin “an offramp” from Crimea? Absurd as this idea was, I think Mr. Obama was sincere. He actually imagined that he’d be saving Mr. Putin from himself, that Crimea could only redound against Russia in the long run.
If you really believe this, then there is no need for forceful, potentially risky U.S. counteractions. Which explains everything since: Mr. Obama’s pinprick sanctions; his failure to rally a craven Europe; his refusal to supply Ukraine with the weapons it has been begging for….
comments powered by Disqus
- Sinclair Lewis Predicted Trump—And Us
- Harvesting Government History, One Web Page at a Time
- 'Arbeit Macht Frei’ Gate Thought to Be Stolen From Dachau Is Found
- Behind the 1947 Law That Could Block Donald Trump’s Secretary of Defense Pick
- Why Trump Would Almost Certainly Be Violating the Constitution If He Continues to Own His Businesses
- Novelist says History classes are our best hope for teaching Americans to question fake news and Donald Trump
- National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi is youngest in 30 years in the non-fiction category
- Historian Volker Ullrich’s book on the rise of Hitler is spookily relevant
- People are still talking about historian Mark Lilla’s NYT op ed 2 weeks after it was published
- Rick Perlstein says Trump’s election confirms a paranoid trend in the GOP