In the days since news of a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme broke, I’ve lost count of the number of commentators – of both the right and the left – lining up to denounce President Obama as the new Neville Chamberlain.
“Worse than Munich”, screamed the headline of one column published in the Wall Street Journal.
One prominent conservative radio host even asserted that Chamberlain was a left wing Labour party member who was sacked by his own party for being too left wing at Munich (talk about moulding the facts to your argument: Chamberlain was of course a Conservative).
As far as the Iranian agreement is concerned, it is true that any sensible person should have deep misgivings about it: the Western powers appear to have spectacularly underplayed a strong hand, and the deal runs the grave risk of allowing Iran to edge towards its malevolent nuclear ambitions by stealth.
However, rather than resembling the great appeaser Chamberlain, the worry is that Obama is starting to look more like Woodrow Wilson, the “great progressive” President whose hopeless idealism on the world stage preceded America’s virtual withdrawal from global affairs and the nightmare of the 1930s.
Like Wilson, Obama is a well-meaning and idealistic liberal. But he is up against countries and individuals who recognise only cold, hard Realpolitik – and see his idealism simply as an opportunity to be exploited.
Unfortunately, therefore, at a time when challenges on the international stage are proliferating, the administration continues to project a profound sense of American weakness, one that is almost …