Echoes of Woodrow Wilson’s failures

It is said that the League of Nations and the “14 points” were undone by the president’s priggish stubbornness and condescension.

Charles Krauthammer writes that with just four months left in the Obama administration, “His signature domestic legislation and his foreign policy of preening disengagement are both coming apart at the seams.”

As predicted by just about every objective observer at the time: the Obamacare death spiral.

Young people, refusing to pay disproportionately to subsidize older and sicker patients, are not signing up. As the risk pool becomes increasingly unbalanced, the death spiral accelerates. And the only way to save the system is with massive infusions of tax money. What to do? The Democrats will eventually push to junk Obamacare for a full-fledged, government-run, single-payer system. Republicans will seek to junk it for a more market-based pre-Obamacare-like alternative. Either way, the singular domestic achievement of this presidency dies.

Also predicted, to those who urged we retire the Pax Americana and empower inept & corrupt global institutions.

“What is Aleppo?” famously asked Gary Johnson. Answer: the burial ground of the Obama fantasy of benign disengagement.

The Nobel committee should be especially proud.

One question that lingers seven years later: What did the Nobel Committee imagine would follow when America assumed an unexceptional role on the world stage? In the U.S., some thought American retrenchment might spur Europeans to finally take responsibility for securing the Continent’s peripheries. This wasn’t an unreasonable assumption, but it proved wrong. Europeans remain as parochial as ever.

The Nobel Committee, and the intellectual class whose preferences it reflected, had loftier ideas. In 2009 they thought that, without U.S. “unilateralism,” the world could settle enmity and evil the same way the EU resolves disputes over agricultural subsidies. This was when EU boosters like the historian Tony Judt still wrote of the 21st century as a European century—when the rest of the world would embrace the European way of dialogue.

Seven years later the Europeans can barely solve their subsidy disputes, and the Continent has had quite enough of the philosopher-president.

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