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Remember candidate Obama? His critics called him unAmerican because he was hawking a foreign policy of strict realism after 8 years of NeoCon change-the-world idealistic failure? We’ll it looks like President Obama has drank the Koolaid. We’re a shining beacon on the hill that’s armed to the teeth. The Op Ed page of the NYT elaborates.

He was always a realist onto whom idealism was thrust. He adheres, by instinct and experience, to the middle ground. Taking office in a nation drained by war, he found arguments aplenty to bolster his inclination for ending conflicts.

American exceptionalism — the notion of the United States as a transformative moral beacon to the world — made him uneasy. Atlanticism, the fruit of the war that took Lund’s life, had little emotional hold on a man not yet 30 when the Cold War ended. The disappearing jobs of the home front were his domain.

And yet, and yet, this cautious president, who has been subtly talking down American power — with reason — has involved the nation in a new conflict in Libya, one in which his own defense secretary holds that the United States has no “vital interest.” He has joined a long line of U.S. leaders in discovering the moral imperative indivisible from the American idea.


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