Remember, in this reset narrative, there are no such bothersome things as irreconcilable differences, antithetical agendas, or reductionism such as thugs like Ahmadinejad, Assad, Chavez, or Putin, who always interpret magnanimity as weakness in their nonstop quest for more influence and power at the expense of the perceived weaker party.
So here we are after all the apologies, all the bowing, all the trashing of Bush, all the Cairo speeches and al Arabiyainterviews: Putin brags about a new generation of nuclear weapons, bullying his neighbors and doing nothing to stop Iran; Iran kills its dissidents while we sleep and promises a bomb to come. Chavez wants one too, and Syria does it best to destroy Lebanese autonomy. And that is just the beginning.
It was not supposed to happen that way. (All those adoring crowds in the streets of London, Cairo, and Nairobi were supposed to translate into their leaders’ infatuation with Obama.
Barack Obama, elegant and professorially articulate, was an invitation to sophistication that America simply could not bring itself to turn down. If "hope and change" was an empty political slogan, it was also beautiful clothing that people could passionately describe without ever having seen.
Mr. Obama won the presidency by achieving a symbiotic bond with the American people: He would labor not to show himself, and Americans would labor not to see him. As providence would have it, this was a very effective symbiosis politically. And yet, without self-disclosure on the one hand or cross-examination on the other, Mr. Obama became arguably the least known man ever to step into the American presidency.