Near the end of 2011, James Fallows wrote a cover story for the Atlantic in which he wondered whether President Obama was more of a chess master playing a long game or a "pawn overwhelmed by events." Four years later, Fallows makes the case in a blog post at the Atlantic that all signs are pointing toward chess master. While acknowledging that "a lot has gone disastrously wrong around the world and in America on his watch," Fallows writes that "a lot has quietly gone right" as well. In Fallows' view, three big things in the latter camp are the climate deal in Paris, the rapprochement with Cuba, and the nuclear deal with Iran. All are major diplomatic feats, and none probably would have gotten done without Obama.
"Agree or disagree with these objectives (and I know that many of Obama’s critics view every one of them as a stab in America’s back), this is not the work of a pawn," writes Fallows. He notes that Tea Party criticism of the president seems to have shifted from calling Obama "feckless and weak" to describing him as a manipulative politician who has managed to consistently outwit the Republican Congress. It will, of course, take a long time for historians to fully assess the president, writes Fallows. But "the record now indicates the 'inexperienced,' 'disengaged,' 'narcissistic' Obama will be seen historically as a force to be reckoned with." Click to read the full post. (Read more President Obama stories.)