Obama: L’obsession du changement maintenant (From the rut to the dustbin of history)

imageRainbowHouseC’est au nom de la liberté, bien entendu, mais aussi au nom de l’« amour, de la fidélité, du dévouement » et de la nécessité de « ne pas condamner des personnes à la solitude » que la Cour suprême des Etats-Unis a finalement validé le mariage entre personnes de même sexe. Tels furent en tout cas les mots employés au terme de cette longue décision rédigée par le Juge Kennedy au nom de la Cour. (…) Le mariage gay est entré dans le droit américain non par la loi, librement débattue et votée au niveau de chaque Etat, mais par la jurisprudence de la plus haute juridiction du pays, laquelle s’impose à tous les Etats américains. Mais c’est une décision politique. Eminemment politique à l’instar de celle qui valida l’Obamacare, sécurité sociale à l’américaine, reforme phare du Président Obama, à une petite voix près. On se souviendra en effet que cette Cour a ceci de particulier qu’elle prétend être totalement transparente. Elle est composée de neuf juges, savants juristes, et rend ses décisions à la suite d’un vote. Point de bulletins secrets dans cette enceinte ; les votants sont connus. A se fier à sa composition, la Cour n’aurait jamais dû valider le mariage homosexuel : cinq juges conservateurs, quatre progressistes. Cinq a priori hostiles, quatre a priori favorables. Mais le sort en a décidé autrement ; le juge Kennedy, le plus modéré des conservateurs, fit bloc avec les progressistes, basculant ainsi la majorité en faveur de ces derniers. C’est un deuxième coup dur pour les conservateurs de la Cour en quelques mois : l’Obamacare bénéficia également de ce même coup du sort ; à l’époque ce fut le président, le Juge John Roberts, qui permit aux progressistes de l’emporter et de valider le système. (…) La spécificité de l’évènement est que ce sont des juges qui, forçant l’interprétation d’une Constitution qui ne dit rien du mariage homosexuel, ont estimé que cette union découlait ou résultait de la notion de « liberté ». C’est un « putch judiciaire » selon l’emblématique juge Antonin Scalia, le doyen de la Cour. Un pays qui permet à un « comité de neuf juges non-élus » de modifier le droit sur une question qui relève du législateur et non du pouvoir judiciaire, ne mérite pas d’être considéré comme une « démocratie ». Mais l’autre basculement désormais acté, c’est celui d’une argumentation dont le centre de gravité s’est déplacé de la raison vers l’émotion, de la ratio vers l’affectus. La Cour Suprême des Etats-Unis s’est en cela bien inscrite dans une tendance incontestable au sein de la quasi-totalité des juridictions occidentales. L’idée même de raisonnement perd du terrain : énième avatar de la civilisation de l’individu, les juges éprouvent de plus en plus de mal à apprécier les arguments en dehors de la chaleur des émotions. Cette décision fait en effet la part belle à la médiatisation des revendications individualistes, rejouées depuis plusieurs mois sur le modèle de la « lutte pour les droits civiques ». Ainsi la Cour n’hésite pas à comparer les lois traditionnelles du mariage à celles qui, à une autre époque, furent discriminatoires à l’égard des afro-américains et des femmes. (…) La Maison Blanche s’est instantanément baignée des couleurs de l’arc-en-ciel, symbole de la « gaypride ». Les réseaux sociaux ont été inondés de ces mêmes couleurs en soutien à ce qui est maintenant connu sous le nom de la cause gay. (…) Comme le relève un autre juge de la Cour ayant voté contre cette décision, il est fort dommage que cela se fasse au détriment du droit et de la Constitution des Etats-Unis d’Amérique. Yohann Rimokh
Le président a dit a de nombreuses reprises qu’il était prêt a sortir de l’ornière de l’histoire. Ben Rhodes (conseiller de la Maison Blanche)
“The president said many times he’s willing to step out of the rut of history.” (…) Once again Rhodes has, perhaps inadvertently, exposed the president’s premises more clearly than the president likes to do. The rut of history: It is a phrase worth pondering. It expresses a deep scorn for the past, a zeal for newness and rupture, an arrogance about old struggles and old accomplishments, a hastiness with inherited precedents and circumstances, a superstition about the magical powers of the present. It expresses also a generational view of history, which, like the view of history in terms of decades and centuries, is one of the shallowest views of all.expresses also a generational view of history, which, like the view of history in terms of decades and centuries, is one of the shallowest views of all. This is nothing other than the mentality of disruption applied to foreign policy. In the realm of technology, innovation justifies itself; but in the realm of diplomacy and security, innovation must be justified, and it cannot be justified merely by an appetite for change. Tedium does not count against a principled alliance or a grand strategy. Indeed, a continuity of policy may in some cases—the Korean peninsula, for example: a rut if ever there was one—represent a significant achievement. (…) Obama seems to believe that the United States owes Iran some sort of expiation. As he explained to Thomas Friedman the day after the nuclear agreement was reached, “we had some involvement with overthrowing a democratically elected regime in Iran” in 1953. Six years ago, when the streets of Iran exploded in a democratic rebellion and the White House stood by as it was put down by the government with savage force against ordinary citizens, memories of Mohammad Mosaddegh were in the air around the administration, as if to explain that the United States was morally disqualified by a prior sin of intervention from intervening in any way in support of the dissidents. The guilt of 1953 trumped the duty of 2009. But what is the alternative? This is the question that is supposed to silence all objections. It is, for a start, a demagogic question. This agreement was designed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. If it does not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—and it seems uncontroversial to suggest that it does not guarantee such an outcome—then it does not solve the problem that it was designed to solve. And if it does not solve the problem that it was designed to solve, then it is itself not an alternative, is it? The status is still quo. Or should we prefer the sweetness of illusion to the nastiness of reality? For as long as Iran does not agree to retire its infrastructure so that the manufacture of a nuclear weapon becomes not improbable but impossible, the United States will not have transformed the reality that worries it. We will only have mitigated it and prettified it. We will have found relief from the crisis, but not a resolution of it. The administration’s apocalyptic rhetoric about the deal is absurd: The temporary diminishments of Iran’s enrichment activities are not what stand between the Islamic Republic and a bomb. The same people who assure us that Iran has admirably renounced its aspiration to a nuclear arsenal now warn direly that a failure to ratify the accord will send Iranian centrifuges spinning madly again. They ridicule the call for more stringent sanctions against Iran because the sanctions already in place are “leaky” and crumbling, and then they promise us that these same failing measures can be speedily and reliably reconstituted in a nifty mechanism called “snapback.” Leon Wieseltier

De l’ornière à la poubelle de l’histoire ?

Au lendemain d’un prétendu accord « historique » sur le nucléaire iranien que son principal signataire reconnait ne pas avoir lu et que les Iraniens n’ont depuis, comme avec les précédents, cessé de dénoncer …

Et pour lequel l’Administration Obama a non seulement multiplié les mensonges et interdit, via le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, toute discussion à son propre Congrès …

Mais, dans la plus pure tradition des Pilate et Caïphe de l’histoire, rejeté à l’avance sur le dos de sa première victime les effets prétendument apocalyptiques que pourraient avoir sa contestation …

Après le véritable « putsch judiciaire » que l’on sait sur le prétendu « mariage pour tous » …

Comment ne pas voir, avec l’un des plus grands thuriféraires de l’actuelle Administration américaine écrivant de surcroit dans l’un de ses plus fidèles porte-voix …

La véritable obsession que semble être devenue pour toute une génération …

Hélas pas seulement américaine et pas seulement pour  la diplomatie comme on peut le voir avec les socialistes actuellement au pouvoir en France et les aberrations sociétales telles que celle du « mariage pour tous »..

L’idée, aussi vide de contenu que lourde de catastrophes futures, du changement pour le changement ?

The Iran Deal and the Rut of History
Has the Obama administration’s pursuit of new beginnings blinded it to enduring enmities ?
Leon Wieseltier

The Atlantic

July 27, 2015

“The  president said many times he’s willing to step out of the rut of history.” In this way Ben Rhodes of the White House, who over the years has broken new ground in the grandiosity of presidential apologetics, described the courage of Barack Obama in concluding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the Islamic Republic of Iran, otherwise known as the Iran deal. Once again Rhodes has, perhaps inadvertently, exposed the president’s premises more clearly than the president likes to do. The rut of history: It is a phrase worth pondering. It expresses a deep scorn for the past, a zeal for newness and rupture, an arrogance about old struggles and old accomplishments, a hastiness with inherited precedents and circumstances, a superstition about the magical powers of the present. It expresses also a generational view of history, which, like the view of history in terms of decades and centuries, is one of the shallowest views of all.

This is nothing other than the mentality of disruption applied to foreign policy. In the realm of technology, innovation justifies itself; but in the realm of diplomacy and security, innovation must be justified, and it cannot be justified merely by an appetite for change. Tedium does not count against a principled alliance or a grand strategy. Indeed, a continuity of policy may in some cases—the Korean peninsula, for example: a rut if ever there was one—represent a significant achievement. But for the president, it appears, the tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. Certainly it did in the case of Cuba, where the feeling that it was time to move on (that great euphemism for American impatience and inconstancy) eclipsed any scruple about political liberty as a condition for movement; and it did with Iran, where, as Rhodes admits, the president was tired of things staying the same, and was enduring history as a rut. And in the 21st century, when all human affairs are to begin again!

Obama’s restlessness about American policy toward Iran was apparent long before the question of Iran’s nuclear capability focused the mind of the world. In his first inaugural address, he famously offered an extended hand in exchange for an unclenched fist. Obama seems to believe that the United States owes Iran some sort of expiation. As he explained to Thomas Friedman the day after the nuclear agreement was reached, “we had some involvement with overthrowing a democratically elected regime in Iran” in 1953. Six years ago, when the streets of Iran exploded in a democratic rebellion and the White House stood by as it was put down by the government with savage force against ordinary citizens, memories of Mohammad Mosaddegh were in the air around the administration, as if to explain that the United States was morally disqualified by a prior sin of intervention from intervening in any way in support of the dissidents. The guilt of 1953 trumped the duty of 2009. The Iranian fist, in the event, stayed clenched. Or to put it in Rhodes-spin, our Iran policy remained in a rut.

But it is important to recognize that the rut—or the persistence of the adversarial relationship between Iran and the United States—was not a blind fate, or an accident of historical inertia, or a failure of diplomatic imagination. It was a choice. On the Iranian side, the choice was based upon a worldview that was founded in large measure on a fiery, theological anti-Americanism, an officially sanctioned and officially disseminated view of Americanism as satanism. On the American side, the choice was based upon an opposition to the tyranny and the terror that the Islamic Republic represented and proliferated. It is true that in the years prior to the Khomeini revolution the United States tolerated vicious abuses of human rights in Iran; but then our enmity toward the ayatollahs’ autocracy may be regarded as a moral correction. (A correction is an admirable kind of hypocrisy.) The adversarial relationship between America and the regime in Tehran has been based on the fact that we are proper adversaries. We should be adversaries. What democrat, what pluralist, what liberal, what conservative, what believer, what non-believer, would want this Iran for a friend?

When one speaks about an unfree country, one may refer either to its people or to its regime. One cannot refer at once to both, because they are not on the same side. Obama likes to think, when he speaks of Iran, that he speaks of its people, but in practice he has extended his hand to its regime. With his talk about reintegrating Iran into the international community, about the Islamic Republic becoming “a very successful regional power” and so on, he has legitimated a regime that was more and more lacking in legitimacy. (There was something grotesque about the chumminess, the jolly camaraderie, of the American negotiators and the Iranian negotiators. Why is Mohammad Javad Zarif laughing?) The text of the agreement states that the signatories will submit a resolution to the UN Security Council “expressing its desire to build a new relationship with Iran.” Not a relationship with a new Iran, but a new relationship with this Iran, as it is presently—that is to say, theocratically, oppressively, xenophobically, aggressively, anti-Semitically, misogynistically, homophobically—constituted. When the president speaks about the people of Iran, he reveals a bizarre refusal to recognize the character of life in a dictatorship. In his recent Nowruz message, for example, he exhorted the “people of Iran … to speak up for the future [they] seek.” To speak up! Does he think Iran is Iowa? The last time the people of Iran spoke up to their government, they left their blood on the streets. “Whether the Iranian people have sufficient influence to shift how their leaders think about these issues,” Obama told Friedman, “time will tell.” There he is again, the most powerful man in the world, backing off and bearing witness.
If I could believe that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action marked the end of Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon—that it is, in the president’s unambiguous declaration, “the most definitive path by which Iran will not get a nuclear weapon” because “every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off”—I would support it. I do not support it because it is none of those things. It is only a deferral and a delay. Every pathway is not cut off, not at all. The accord provides for a respite of 15 years, but 15 years is just a young person’s idea of a long time. Time, to borrow the president’s words, will tell. Even though the text of the agreement twice states that “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons,” there is no evidence that the Iranian regime has made a strategic decision to turn away from the possibility of the militarization of nuclear power. Its strategic objective has been, rather, to escape the sanctions and their economic and social severities. In this, it has succeeded. If even a fraction of the returned revenues are allocated to Iran’s vile adventures beyond its borders, the United States will have subsidized an expansion of its own nightmares.

But what is the alternative? This is the question that is supposed to silence all objections. It is, for a start, a demagogic question. This agreement was designed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. If it does not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—and it seems uncontroversial to suggest that it does not guarantee such an outcome—then it does not solve the problem that it was designed to solve. And if it does not solve the problem that it was designed to solve, then it is itself not an alternative, is it? The status is still quo. Or should we prefer the sweetness of illusion to the nastiness of reality? For as long as Iran does not agree to retire its infrastructure so that the manufacture of a nuclear weapon becomes not improbable but impossible, the United States will not have transformed the reality that worries it. We will only have mitigated it and prettified it. We will have found relief from the crisis, but not a resolution of it.
The administration’s apocalyptic rhetoric about the deal is absurd: The temporary diminishments of Iran’s enrichment activities are not what stand between the Islamic Republic and a bomb. The same people who assure us that Iran has admirably renounced its aspiration to a nuclear arsenal now warn direly that a failure to ratify the accord will send Iranian centrifuges spinning madly again. They ridicule the call for more stringent sanctions against Iran because the sanctions already in place are “leaky” and crumbling, and then they promise us that these same failing measures can be speedily and reliably reconstituted in a nifty mechanism called “snapback.” And how self-fulfilling was the administration’s belief that no better deal was possible? On what grounds was its limited sense of possibility determined? Surely there is nothing utopian about the demand for a larger degree of confidence in this matter: The stakes are unimaginably high. It is worth noting also that the greater certainty demanded by the skeptics does not involve, as the president says, “eliminating the presence of knowledge inside of Iran,” which cannot be done. Many countries possess the science but do not pose the threat. The Iranian will, not the Iranian mind, is the issue.

The period of negotiations that has just come to a close was a twisted moment in American foreign policy. We were inhibited by the talks and they were not. The United States was reluctant to offend its interlocutors by offering any decisive challenge to their many aggressions in the region and beyond; we chose instead to inhibit ourselves. This has been an activist era in Iranian foreign policy and a passivist era in American foreign policy. (Even our refusal to offer significant assistance to Ukraine in its genuinely noble struggle against Russian intimidation and invasion was owed in part to our solicitude for the Russian standpoint on Iran.) I expect that the administration will prevail, alas, over the opposition to the Iran deal. The can will be kicked down the road, which is Obama’s characteristic method of arranging his “legacy” in foreign affairs. Our dread of an Iranian bomb will not have been dispelled; we will still need to keep “all options on the table”; we will continue to ponder anxiously the question of whether a military response to an Iranian breakout will ever be required; we will again be living by our nerves. All this does not constitute a diplomatic triumph. As a consequence of the accord, moreover, the mullahs in Tehran, and the fascist Revolutionary Guards that enforce their rule and profit wildly from it, will certainly not loosen their grip on their society or open it up. This “linkage” is a tired fiction. The sanctions were not what cast Iran into its political darkness.

This accord will strengthen a contemptible regime. And so I propose—futilely, I know—that now, in the aftermath of the accord, America proceed to weaken it. The conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action should be accompanied by a resumption of our hostility to the Iranian regime and its various forces. Diplomats like to say that you talk with your enemies. They are right. And we have talked with them. But they are still our enemies. This is the hour not for a fresh start but for a renovation of principle. We need to restore democratization to its pride of place among the priorities of our foreign policy and oppress the theocrats in Tehran everywhere with expressions, in word and in deed, of our implacable hostility to their war on their own people. We need to support the dissidents in any way we can, not least so that they do not feel abandoned and alone, and tiresomely demand the release of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi from the house arrest in which they have been sealed since the crackdown in 2009. (And how in good conscience could we have proceeded with the negotiations while the American journalist Jason Rezaian was a captive in an Iranian jail? Many years ago, when I studied the Dreyfus affair, I learned that there are times when an injustice to only one man deserves to bring things to a halt.) We need to despise the regime loudly and regularly, and damage its international position as fiercely and imaginatively as we can, for its desire to exterminate Israel. We need to arm the enemies of Iran in Syria and Iraq, and for many reasons. (In Syria, we have so far prepared 60 fighters: America is back!) We need to explore, with diplomatic daring, an American-sponsored alliance between Israel and the Sunni states, which are now experiencing an unprecedented convergence of interests.

But we will do none of this. We will instead persist in letting the fire spread and letting time tell, which we call realism. Wanting not to fight wars, we refuse to join struggles. Sometimes, I guess, history really is a rut.

Voir par ailleurs:

Mariage homosexuel : la Cour suprême des États-Unis consacre « l’amour »… et la victoire de l’émotion sur la raison
La Cour suprême américaine a légalisé vendredi 26 juin le mariage homosexuel dans l’ensemble des États-Unis. Et cela en irrite plus d’un.
Yohann Rimokh

Atlantico

2 Juillet 2015

C’est au nom de la liberté, bien entendu, mais aussi au nom de l’« amour, de la fidélité, du dévouement » et de la nécessité de « ne pas condamner des personnes à la solitude » que la Cour suprême des Etats-Unis a finalement validé le mariage entre personnes de même sexe. Tels furent en tout cas les mots employés au terme de cette longue décision rédigée par le Juge Kennedy au nom de la Cour. Les cinquante Etats de la fédération américaine sont concernés, en ce compris ceux qui jusqu’alors interdisaient de telles unions ; les débats au sein de ces Etats sont donc terminés.

C’est un gain de cause général ; une victoire totale des requérants venus des quatre coins des Etats-Unis. Le mariage gay est entré dans le droit américain non par la loi, librement débattue et votée au niveau de chaque Etat, mais par la jurisprudence de la plus haute juridiction du pays, laquelle s’impose à tous les Etats américains.

Mais c’est une décision politique.

Eminemment politique à l’instar de celle qui valida l’Obamacare, sécurité sociale à l’américaine, reforme phare du Président Obama, à une petite voix près. On se souviendra en effet que cette Cour a ceci de particulier qu’elle prétend être totalement transparente. Elle est composée de neuf juges, savants juristes, et rend ses décisions à la suite d’un vote. Point de bulletins secrets dans cette enceinte ; les votants sont connus. A se fier à sa composition, la Cour n’aurait jamais dû valider le mariage homosexuel : cinq juges conservateurs, quatre progressistes. Cinq a priori hostiles, quatre a priori favorables. Mais le sort en a décidé autrement ; le juge Kennedy, le plus modéré des conservateurs, fit bloc avec les progressistes, basculant ainsi la majorité en faveur de ces derniers. C’est un deuxième coup dur pour les conservateurs de la Cour en quelques mois : l’Obamacare bénéficia également de ce même coup du sort ; à l’époque ce fut le président, le Juge John Roberts, qui permit aux progressistes de l’emporter et de valider le système.

La décision validant le mariage homosexuel entrera sans doute dans l’histoire, mais elle ne présente pas d’originalité majeure ; l’argumentation qu’elle déploie nous est largement connue, à nous autres qui avons eu à suivre ce débat en France en 2013. La spécificité de l’évènement est que ce sont des juges qui, forçant l’interprétation d’une Constitution qui ne dit rien du mariage homosexuel, ont estimé que cette union découlait ou résultait de la notion de « liberté ».

C’est un « putch judiciaire » selon l’emblématique juge Antonin Scalia, le doyen de la Cour. Un pays qui permet à un « comité de neuf juges non-élus » de modifier le droit sur une question qui relève du législateur et non du pouvoir judiciaire, ne mérite pas d’être considéré comme une « démocratie ».

Mais l’autre basculement désormais acté, c’est celui d’une argumentation dont le centre de gravité s’est déplacé de la raison vers l’émotion, de la ratio vers l’affectus. La Cour Suprême des Etats-Unis s’est en cela bien inscrite dans une tendance incontestable au sein de la quasi-totalité des juridictions occidentales. L’idée même de raisonnement perd du terrain : énième avatar de la civilisation de l’individu, les juges éprouvent de plus en plus de mal à apprécier les arguments en dehors de la chaleur des émotions. Cette décision fait en effet la part belle à la médiatisation des revendications individualistes, rejouées depuis plusieurs mois sur le modèle de la « lutte pour les droits civiques ». Ainsi la Cour n’hésite pas à comparer les lois traditionnelles du mariage à celles qui, à une autre époque, furent discriminatoires à l’égard des afro-américains et des femmes. Aurions-nous pu nous passer de telles comparaisons ? Ces comparaisons étaient-elles pertinentes ? Bien des choses permettent d’en douter.

La Maison Blanche s’est instantanément baignée des couleurs de l’arc-en-ciel, symbole de la « gaypride ». Les réseaux sociaux ont été inondés de ces mêmes couleurs en soutien à ce qui est maintenant connu sous le nom de la cause gay. Émotion, sentiments et business font décidément bon ménage au XXIe siècle.

Comme le relève un autre juge de la Cour ayant voté contre cette décision, il est fort dommage que cela se fasse au détriment du droit et de la Constitution des Etats-Unis d’Amérique.

Là encore, nous autres, avons déjà connu cela.

2 commentaires pour Obama: L’obsession du changement maintenant (From the rut to the dustbin of history)

  1. jcdurbant dit :

    All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus. Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing. (…) But then there are sort of these force multipliers. We have our compadres, I will reach out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them …

    Ben Rhodes

    In an astounding New York Times piece by David Samuels, senior White House officials gleefully confess they use friendly reporters and nonprofits as public relations tools in the selling of President Obama’s foreign policy — and can do it almost at will because these tools are ignorant, will believe what they’re told, will essentially take dictation and are happy to be used just to get the information necessary for a tweet or two. Their greatest triumph, according to Samuels, was selling a misleading narrative about the nuclear deal with Iran — the parameters of which were set a year before the administration claimed and which had nothing to do with the fact that a supposedly more accommodating government had risen to power. The mastermind of the Obama machine is Ben Rhodes, a New Yorker who joined the Obama campaign as a speechwriter in 2007 and has risen to become the most influential foreign-policy hand in the White House …

    http://nypost.com/2016/05/05/playing-the-press-and-the-public-for-chumps-to-sell-the-iran-deal/

    J'aime

  2. jcdurbant dit :

    When a White House adviser — not Rhodes — mentioned a “war room” for selling the Iran deal, a phrase that disturbed me, I went back to Rhodes and asked what it was and who ran it. He arranged for me to interview anyone I wanted. They were all candid and factual. They explained to me how they had used state-of-the-art tools and a sophisticated understanding of the way information moves in the social-media age to sell a deal that they clearly believed to be in the United States’ national interest.

    But why were any of them talking to me? I soon surmised that Rhodes’s motivation in allowing me to peek behind the curtain came from a disquiet he felt at the possibility, or the likelihood, that the machinery he managed so brilliantly would soon be in the hands of his successors, who might use it to do things that he thought could be quite dangerous — like goading the United States into another pointless, bloody foreign war. Rhodes readily admitted to me that the work he does is a potentially dangerous distortion of democracy, but he also felt that it had become a necessary evil, caused by the fracturing of the 20th-century mass audience and the decline of the American press. He expressed a deep personal hopelessness about the possibility of open, rational public debate in a brutally partisan climate. But didn’t the country deserve better? I kept asking him. Over time, our conversations around this point evolved, without either of us directly mentioning it, into a kind of gentleman’s bet: My article would go as hard as I could at the truth as I saw it, The Times would publish it, and one of us would be proved right while the other would be proved wrong.

    It has been fascinating for me to watch my story, which was largely read on its own terms outside of Washington and even by the White House itself, go through the looking glass of social media. The story itself has vanished, replaced by a digital mash-up of slurs and invective, supported by stray phrases that have been mechanically tweezered from different texts. The issues that Rhodes raises in my profile — about the reshaping of the media, the way American foreign policy has shifted, the way the world works now — none of these things are being discussed, either. Somehow, for a small group of people with very loud megaphones, the point right now seems to be me — or rather, a digital piñata they have slapped my name on. It seems fair to say that Rhodes won our bet.

    David Samuels

    J'aime

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