USA | Hur historien kommer att bedöma Barack Obama är skrivit i stjärnorna. Det hindrar dock inte att spekulationerna är i full gång.
Precis som konkurrerande valkampanjer ägnar mycket tid åt att definiera både sig själv och motståndaren utspelas en ständig historisk värdering av makthavare.
Den stora skillnaden ligger i att historien har en tendens att komma med ständiga revideringar av makthavarna medan vad vi minns från en valkampanj mest hänger samman med valresultatet.
Almost every respondent wrote that the fact of his being the first black president will loom large in the historical narrative — though they disagreed in interesting ways. Many predict that what will last is the symbolism of a nonwhite First Family; others, the antagonism Obama’s blackness provoked; still others, the way his racial self-consciousness constrained him. A few suggested that we will care a great deal less about his race generations from now — just as John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism hardly matters to current students of history. Across the board, Obamacare was recognized as a historic triumph (though one historian predicted that, with its market exchanges, it may in retrospect be seen as illiberal and mark the beginning of the privatization of public health care). A surprising number of respondents argued that his rescue of the economy will be judged more significant than is presently acknowledged, however lackluster the recovery has felt. There was more attention paid to China than ISIS (Obama’s foreign policy received the most divergent assessments), and considerable credit was given to the absence of a major war or terrorist attack, along with a more negative assessment of its price — the expansion of the security state, drones and all. The contributors tilted liberal — that’s academia, no surprise — but we made an effort to create at least a little balance with conservative historians. Their responses often echoed those from the far left: that a president elected on a promise to unite the country instead extended the power of his office in alarming, unprecedented ways.
Tidskriftsomslag: New York den 12-25 januari 2015.