We’ve given a Steve Clemons a lot of shit over the past few months, and I do tend to think that the “Rahm is the bogeyman” stuff he was pushing was overblown. But this piece is good (WARNING: Politico link) and comes from a very different place than many of you might expect:
Obama is changing the direction of global gravity. He is also confronting Iran without the shallowness of bombing vs. sanctions vs. public humiliation that his administration has been flirting with. In the past week, and over the next month, Obama is showing what a U.S.-led world order should look like.
This is a huge shift, for the world hasn’t had much faith in America’s abilities to deliver. For example, in taking on strategic challenges like getting the Israelis and Palestinians on a two-state pathway; or ending the anachronistically simmering Cold War conflict in U.S.-Cuba relations; or persuading Iran to forgo a nuclear weapons track, most of the world has seen an America unable to achieve the objectives it sets out for itself.
In recent years, this has translated into a sense that the United States is a well-branded, globally important but underperforming country, whose influence is weakening — more like a national version of General Motors than Google.