IMAGE | Det dröjde inte länge innan Iran avbröt samtalen med USA och EU om sitt kärnteknikprogram.
Redan i november skrev Andrew J. Bacevich, professor i historia och internationella relationer, om den lite naiva synen som präglat omvärldens uppfattning om samtalen med Iran. Och detta gäller även president Barack Obama.
Nu är risken stor att han kommer att uppfattas som alltmer överspelad när fokus riktas mot nästa presidentval. Spekulationerna är redan igång i USA om vem som skall bli partiernas presidentkandidater.
Och om man i USA tar allt mindre hänsyn till presidenten finns det ingen anledning tro att ett land som Iran skall göra något annat än försöka förhala ett avtal som man redan från början var emot.
The deafening applause that greeted Obama’s brief phone call to Iran’s President Rohani and the subsequent deal to kinda, sorta curb that country’s nuclear programme offer one measure of the diminished expectations that are now the administration’s signature. Look, they don’t always fumble!
For their part, major American news outlets are moving on. Although Obama has not reached the midway point in his second term, attention has already turned to handicapping the 2016 presidential race. Reporters eagerly declare that New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former secretary of state/senator/first lady Hillary Clinton have the nominations of their respective parties all but locked up. The next contest to save America, thereby enabling America to save the world, is about to be joined.
In the United States, presidential elections serve as an as excuse to avoid serious thought. Since at least the election of John F. Kennedy, now more than half a century ago, winning the presidency has been a theatrical exercise. Image has mattered more than substance. The whole point of the exercise is to transform the party’s candidate into a character. The side that enjoys greater success in doing so — its character embodying, however briefly, the concerns and aspirations of enough voters to capture a majority in the electoral college — wins. Depicting the opposing party’s candidate as an unworthy and even villainous character also helps.
The inevitable result is to create inflated expectations of the victor as someone able to divine and redirect the very course of history.
Regardless of whose hand is on the tiller, powerful undercurrents evade human control. The beginning of wisdom lies in understanding that the ‘most powerful man in the world’ is really not all that powerful. History’s determinants — beginning with the weight of the past itself — mock the absurd pretensions of presidents, their handlers and their acolytes.
Those fancying that a President Christie or a second President Clinton will do any better obviously haven’t been paying attention and richly deserve what awaits them. After all, there was only one Messiah and even His attempts to heal and repair met with considerably less than complete success.