viernes, 13 de enero de 2017

Liberals will canonize Obama, but history will likely take a dimmer view.

Saint Barack?

by Matthew Hennessey

Barack Obama is fond of the idea that history has an “arc,” a dubious proposition, born of Obama’s belief that human relations and events, ordered by politics, move in only one direction—upward, according to a modern progressive’s notion of what that word means. In fact, the passage of time has a habit of sanding down the flaws of history’s gods and monsters, sanitizing the bloody and dehumanizing cost of war and conquest, and turning even the worst actors into mere points on a timeline. Was Alexander the Great on the right end of the arc of history? To ask the question is to acknowledge that there is no such thing. History doesn’t play favorites.

Obama’s frequent appeals to history’s judgment reflect his confidence that history will be kind to him. In the short run, it will: liberals will canonize Obama. Like the faithful Catholics chanting “santo subito” after the death of Pope John Paul II, Obama’s liberal boosters will turn him into Saint Barack, savior of health care and slayer of bin Laden. You might see hints of this already in your liberal friends’ wistful Facebook posts: “I’m really going to miss this guy.” If liberals are calling the shots, Obama’s name will shortly be inscribed on statues and state buildings, and his face will someday appear on coins and currency, while the divisions he sowed and exploited in pursuit of personal glory will be papered over. Generations of schoolchildren will learn about the beloved, barrier-shattering college professor with the megawatt smile who could tell a joke and make a jump shot—not the ambitious, polarizing ideologue whose disdain for half the country was palpable. No mention will be made of his habit of insulting supposedly lazy, ignorant Americans who cling bitterly to their religion, guns, and “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them,” and who fall prey to “anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

In the long run, however, history will give Obama less credit than his supporters believe he deserves. He will be remembered as the first black president of the United States—and not much more. He was no statesman. He did nothing to expand America’s influence in the world. From Russia to China to Iran to ISIS, he accommodated threats to American hegemony and fostered the impression of a great power in decline. He was, by consensus, a foreign policy failure.


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