The Good News Bears
You’re not going to like what comes after America,” wrote Leonard Cohen, with the poet’s gift for extreme condensation. Robert Kagan expands this theme in the 149 pages of The World America Made, even as he attempts to mollify some of the people you might have expected he would blame for bringing America down. How else would a foreign-policy adviser to Mitt Romney come to be embraced by Barack Obama? The president was reportedly delighted by the excerpt from the book he’d read in the New Republic, which led him to speak these words in this year’s State of the Union: “America is back. Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
Kagan has since been cautiously distancing himself from this presidential endorsement. He thinks well of Obama’s strategic efforts in the Pacific, poorly of those in the Middle East. But as George Kennan was the first to discover, people in power may make use of what you write in ways you did not expect and do not support.
About the Author
David Warren is a columnist at the Ottawa Citizen.