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
- 10 Historians on What Will Be Said About President Obama's Legacy
- Harvard art historian James S. Ackerman Dies at 97
- Obama’s Legacy as a Historian
- Jack Rakove tells League of Women Voters Electoral College needs to be abolished
- Juan Cole says Chelsea Manning’s leaks contributed to the revolution in Tunisia