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In defence of Obama

The US President is one of the most effective statesmen in modern American history

Has Obama really made the world safer? © JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

As the seventh year of his presidency approaches, Barack Obama remains the most elusive figure in American politics. The contradictory signals he sends—of engagement and detachment, of passion and “cool,” of resolve and uncertainty—seem less mixed than self-obliterating. The presumed ditherer of late August—“We don’t have a strategy yet” for combatting Islamic State (the philosopher AC Grayling discusses this on p20)—stiffened, three weeks later,…

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