March 28, 2014

The Enemy We've Been Waiting For

James Traub, Foreign Policy

The Associated Press

I wonder whether Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose strategic talents have been so favorably compared to Obama's, has not in fact given the American president an immense gift. Leaders need obstacles; better still, they need enemies. President Bill Clinton, ruling at the noontide of American power, never had an adversary against whom to show his mettle. The George Bush who came before him was fortunate to have Saddam Hussein, and the Bush who came later had Osama bin Laden. You could hardly do better. Of course, the difference between the two Bushes shows that a president can use that morally charged confrontation to unite the nation and the world, or to divide them.

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TAGGED: U.S. Foreign Policy, United States, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Russia

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