A reader writes:

"The Morning After" is simple, non-hysterical, spot-on analysis. I especially agree that Obama is after bin Laden. No other single action would pay such huge dividends. In this, Obama proves himself again to be, not just the politician as chess master, but the politician as martial artist, always seeking for the fulcrum, the pivot point where four ounces of effort will yield a thousand pounds of result.

It is a very high level skill, far higher and more effective than the brute force men like Cheney, Bush, or Rumsfeld rely on, and it's difficult to attain, because it depends on three subsidiary skills that lesser men simply never recognize, much less master: listening, understanding and neutralizing. Obama is a master of all three -- just think back on his campaign. 

It's only after he's listened to, understood, and then neutralized his opponent that he -- or fate -- delivers the coup de grace. What appears to some to be hesitation or lack of engagement on his part early on in any effort is really just preparation: listening, understanding, neutralizing.

And since, as you say, he plays the long game, there is really no way to judge his effectiveness at this point -- although, if one applies the same skills of listening and understanding oneself, as you've done in this post -- and as opposed to the shouting and reacting one sees elsewhere -- one quickly suspects he has maximized whatever potential the situation holds, and only waits for his opponent to walk into his trap and "defeat himself", as they say. In this he is the opposite of Bush and Cheney, who walked into bin Laden's trap -- and defeated themselves.

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