October 6, 2012

Obama Loses His Naive Self-Confidence

James Traub, Foreign Policy

AP Photo

Presidents, like the rest of us, only learn that their intuitions about the world are wrong when painful experience teaches them so. Some grip their convictions all the harder and blunder onward. Woodrow Wilson could not accept that neither Europe's leaders nor American politicians shared his vision for a post-war reordering of the world; Lyndon B. Johnson could not admit that he was losing Vietnam; George W. Bush could not see that America's own allies would not sign on to his swaggering Global War on Terror. Others adapt, as John F. Kennedy did when his bellicosity almost provoked World War III.

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TAGGED: 2012, Barack Obama

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