Forget the fancy intro and lets get right to the cold, cold heart of today’s mystery pundit:
Team Obama is divided, with an unhappy State Department under John Kerry desperate to see more help for anti-Assad forces in Syria, while the Pentagon has spent months explaining why extra weapons shipments cannot work. Meanwhile, Mr Obama is described as analysing every option to exhaustion before concluding that inaction is the prudent course.
In a few areas, a toughening of current policies is possible. Mr Obama’s guiding principle is to avoid new wars. Because a nuclear-armed Iran might start a war which drags in America, he treats Iranian talks with great seriousness.
There are few overt hawks in Congress: the Republican Party of the Bush era, with its dreams of creating democracies across the world, is a distant memory. But some senators are pushing Mr Obama to take tougher, faster action against Russia. On a visit to Ukraine on April 25th Carl Levin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for harsher sanctions on Russian banks and energy interests. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, grumbles that the Russian stockmarket actually rose after the latest American sanctions were announced, suggesting those sanctions are weaker than the world expected. Mr Corker says several senators want the government to examine the pros and cons of permanently stationing American NATO forces in such countries as the Baltic republics. Russia maintains that any such move would breach understandings reached with NATO in the 1990s. But Mr Obama will be under pressure to declare that the world has changed, and ignore Russian complaints.
Some will celebrate the decline of America’s ability to deter. But wherever they live, they may find that whatever replaces the old order is much worse. American power is not half as scary as its absence would be.
Whose hateful screed is this? It’s just the editors of that notoriously right-wing magazine, The Economist.