Det skorter ikke på historikere og kommentatorer som undres hva som gikk galt med Barack Obama. Forventningene var spent for høye, og han kunne ikke leve opp til dem, men bortsett fra det: han har vist seg inkompetent, hvilket er langt verre. Teamet som omgir ham har enorme selvbilder og beskytter presidenten mot negative nyheter.

Obama har vært vankelmodig i utenrikspolitikken og verden har tydeligvis utviklet seg langs helt andre linjer enn han la til grunn.

Historikeren Andrew Bacevich skriver en snill oppsummering i The Spectator. Den gir allikevel nok føde til ettertanken. Hvordan vil ettertiden se på Obamas to perioder?

For my money, the Obama legacy is likely to be defined by two developments that have not yet fully matured: drones and cyberwarfare. In both of these areas, Obama can claim to have done pioneering work. Or perhaps he has released demons. Whether a decade or two from now we will view the consequences as positive or negative remains to be seen. Cross your fingers.

Obama’s more strident critics — the types who appear on Fox News or publish shrill op-eds in the Wall Street Journal — denounce him as a far-left radical. Obama, they contend, is way, way outside of the American political mainstream (and by implication does not really qualify as fully American).

The charge is plainly goofy. Here’s an assessment that is more likely to stick: when it comes to foreign policy, this very smart man was not quite smart enough to appreciate the magnitude of the problems he inherited, to understand how little he knew, and to recruit a team with sufficient talent to help him bridge the yawning gap between the first two.

Andrew J. Bacevich, currently Columbia University’s George McGovern Fellow, is writing a military history of America’s war for the greater Middle East.