A few caveats are in order. First of all, its very long. So if you're going to take a look, give yourself some time. You have to stick with it because he examines many sides and its important to read it all the way through.
Secondly, if you're like me, you won't agree with some of the things he says. But what I appreciated about it is that he doesn't seem to have an ax to grind from either side. He's not trying to defend Obama or take him down. I'll admit that its rare to see an analysis these days that doesn't at least seem to have one or the other agenda - no matter how deep people try to bury it.
Anyone who reads here regularly knows that I'm a strong supporter of the president and I'll admit that much of my reason for having this blog in the first place is that I think its important for people like me to make the case about why I think he's the best president in my lifetime. But even folks like me know that President Obama is a human being and therefore not perfect. Its nice to read a piece like Fallows' that both addresses his accomplishments but also recognizes that humanity. Whether or not its an accurate balance, who knows? It will give you something to think about.
Finally, I'd like to give you a few quotes as a tease. But I really don't think that's possible without doing damage to the whole picture Fallows paints. I'll simply recommend that you read it.
In case you're like me and recognize Fallows' name but don't remember much about who he is, here's a little bit from the wiki about him.
James Fallows is an American print and radio journalist. He has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly for many years. His work has also appeared in Slate, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker and The American Prospect, among others. He is a former editor of U.S. News & World Report, and as President Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter for two years was the youngest person ever to hold that job.
Fallows has been a visiting professor at a number of universities in the U.S. and China, and holds the Chair in U.S. Media at the United States Studies Centre at University of Sydney. He is the author of nine books, including National Defense, for which he received the 1983 National Book Award, Looking at the Sun (1994), Breaking the News (1996), Blind into Baghdad (2006), and Postcards from Tomorrow Square (2009).
There's a whole section in the article where Fallows describes in some detail the remarkable success President Obama has had in transforming the US relationship with China. Its a story I hadn't heard anyone else tell. Given Fallows experience there - that alone makes this piece worth a read.