If Obama had real foreign policy achievements, no one would be excited about the Iran deal

As for the President himself, the verdict is in: when it comes to repairing and healing, no, he can’t. In retrospect, it’s hard to fathom why so many people succumbed to the illusion that he could.

In Washington, members of the commentariat have now essentially written off the Obama presidency. The astonishingly inept roll-out of the administration’s signature healthcare reform programme has fostered the image of a chief executive who is disengaged, lackadaisical and not fully in command — perhaps more interested in basketball or golf than in governing.

The ongoing intelligence scandal reinforces this impression. Did Obama know that the NSA was eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other allied leaders or not? To answer that question in the affirmative is to raise serious questions about the president’s judgement. To answer in the negative is to suggest that someone other than the putative commander-in-chief is at the helm of the world’s most powerful national security establishment.

Then there are the disappointments on the international scene, above all in the Islamic world.