It is remarkable, considering the transformational, ocean-healing promise once attributed to Barack Obama’s rise, how America and the world seem to be coming apart at the seams. The Davos Men — and our president is, more than anything else, a representative of the soi-disant “meritocratic” elite — are flummoxed and getting panicky.
The Islamic State, surging out of the deserts of eastern Syria and western Iraq, underscores how brittle the confidence of the chattering class has become. The threat is “beyond anything we’ve seen,” frets Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “We must prepare for everything.”
Hagel has a point. The rapid success of the Islamic State is a direct refutation of the let-it-burn approach to the Middle East that is not only Obama administration policy but would likely be amplified should Rand Paul ever become president. Looking at the world more broadly — including other unpleasant realities like Vladimir Putin’s slow-motion dismemberment of Ukraine and China’s bullying of America’s East Asian allies and friends — the elites see, as Huffington Post writer Robert Kuttner put it, “events of stupefying complexity.”
Credentialism run amok in some ways.