Fouad Ajami sees the (final!) end of Vietnam and "come home, America" in Obama's next four years.
The men who fought in Vietnam, a war that symbolizes America’s overreach and failures abroad, haven’t ascended to the presidency in the way that the World War II generation did. But now, under President Obama, Vietnam veterans Chuck Hagel and John Kerry could get a chance to pull America back from its foreign entanglements.
Obama’s nominations of these men, and the world’s disenchantment with this president, signal that in his second term, the United States will have a less zealous mission in the world. The mantra isn’t quite George McGovern’s “come home, America,” but we are not far from that Vietnam-era weariness of distant lands and causes. And who better than a president with a foreign pedigree and two combat veterans from the Vietnam War at the helm of the Pentagon and the State Department to give this retrenchment a sense of legitimacy? ...WaPo
Ajami goes on into, I'd say, a certain amount of fantasy.
"We are flat broke, with pressing priorities at home." Well, hardly "flat broke" but with clear priorities at home. With our track record in housekeeping, no other country deserves our eagerness to drag our messes into their territory.
Obama's "foreign pedigree"? Well, and Kansas and Hawaii. What Obama has, though, is something more of us should have (and something that's missing in too many of us): experience of foreign cultures and languages.
"The United States isn’t that exceptional to begin with, this triumvirate believes. Hagel and Kerry have forthrightly said so on many occasions,while Obama has had to be more circumspect," says Ajami. That's certainly the case and may be what most of the ruction within our nation culturally and politically: the long overdue dismantling of a fantasy "city on the hill." "Me" vs. humanity.
"Obama can live with the foreign world’s disenchantment with him." Ajami gets that wrong, too. Obama is no longer the unbloodied hero but he's still perceived as the president who can face down the destructive, radical element in our politics that created real concern in America and in its allies.
As for Fouad Ajami, Manichean, a Hooverite, achtung! He was a close advisor of Dick Cheney and is, generally speaking, a chicken hawk and someone who owes the world a break from his advice. But he does get the Hagel, Kerry, Obama partnership right, I think. Well, I hope.