So Paul Krugman, who once called on Alan Greenspan “to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble”; who, a few months before the eurozone crisis erupted, praised Europe as “an economic success” that “shows that social democracy works”; who, as the U.S. fracking revolution was getting under way, opined that America was “just a bystander” in a global energy story defined by “peak oil”; and who, in 2012, hailed Argentina’s economy as a “remarkable success story”—this guy now tells us, in Rolling Stone magazine, that Barack Obama has been a terrific president.
Which can only mean that the next two years are going to be exceptionally ugly. How to get through them?
I ask the question not as an exhortation to subscribe to Survivalist magazine, stock up on tuna fish and Zithromax, and master the arts of homolactic fermentation. In fact, if you’re a resident of the U.S., you’ll probably be OK. What Americans call a recession is what the rest of the world considers affluence. What we call disaster is what others know as existence.
Stephens asks us to consider what the Caddy-In-Chief means for the President of Estonia (or any other territory in Putin's cross-hairs), or a student protester in Hong Kong, a Kurd guerilla fighter defending his village against ISIS, or any other number of putative allies abandoned by President Jarrett.
Leaders in Russia, Moldova and Saudi Arabia have all described U.S. foreign policy under Obama as "complete chaos".
A corollary point, surely not lost on Mr. Putin, Ayatollah Khamenei and other rogues is that they have a free hand at least until January 2017. The conclusion: If ever there was a time to revise their regional orders in ways more to their liking, better to do so now, when there’s a self-infatuated weakling in the White House.
Ukraine, Iraq, and Afghanistan all face existential threats with a president who would rather golf and fundraise than make hard decisions.
Meanwhile, not all of our allies will capitulate so readily. Do not expect the Saudis to sit still if Iran and the West sign a nuclear deal that only John Kerry thinks is credible. Do not expect Japan to stick indefinitely to its nonnuclear pledges as cuts to the U.S. military increasingly hollow out the promise of the pivot, and as China becomes increasingly aggressive. Do not expect the Egyptians to resist the blandishments of potential strategic alliances with China or Russia as Washington holds Cairo at arms length.
This is a world of rambunctious rogues and fretful freelancers. If you think 2014 has been a year of unraveling and disorder, just wait till next year. In a time when the U.S. remains a bystander the wreckage can be immense.
In fact, every decision made by this president is couched in political terms. The AWOL 12 hours during the Benghazi attacks; the three canceled raids against Bin Laden's compounds; the use of the pre-1967 "Holocaust Borders" to represent Israel; ... the list goes on and on and on.
Hat tip: Dan from New York.