For some, protecting Barack Obama’s legacy from the unfavorable verdict of history is such an imperative that history itself is no obstacle.

That’s the unavoidable conclusion left to mnemonist readers of New York Times analyst Mark Landler’s excessively kind review of Obama’s aborted campaign strike Syrian targets in the early autumn of 2013. Both Donald Trump and Barack Obama blinked, he insists. The difference between them, Landler claims, is that Obama was hostage to events and the obligations of constitutional propriety. The present standoff with Iran is, by contrast, “a crisis Mr. Trump manufactured.”

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