The 2000s will join the ranks of decades like the '30s, '60s, and '80s, periods that "shape the country's political life for generations by leaving behind an era to embrace or, at least as often, to scorn," EJ Dionne writes in the Washington Post. As for this "reckless and squandered" decade, it will leave its mark as the time when the US "badly lost its way by using our military power carelessly, misunderstanding the real challenges to our long-term security, and pursuing domestic policies that constrained our options for the future while needlessly threatening our prosperity."
Dionne hopes for renewal in the coming decade, but cautions that this renewal hinges on President Obama's ability to reckon with the messes he inherited—and our ability to reach consensus about the disastrous 2000s. Conservatives have defended their policies "in the name of rolling back 'the excesses of the '60s,'" while liberals point to that era as a time of "unparalleled social advance," he writes. To turn around the next decade, "we have no choice but to reach a settlement about the meaning of the last 10 years."