Here is a free idea for Lin-Manuel Miranda, the genius (certified) behind Hamilton, the status-anxiety-inducing musical that is sold out until the beginning of Donald Trump’s third term as Dear Leader. This free idea is only relevant if a certain assumption of mine is correct, that Miranda will soon be writing Obama: The Musical, which would focus on the 44th president’s most consequential foreign policy decisions. (Nerds can dream, no?)
This is actually not an idea for an entire musical so much as it is the basis for a very complicated song. The background is as follows: Earlier this year, I was interviewing John Kerry, the secretary of state, for my current Atlantic cover article. We were having a semi-non-linear discussion about his diplomatic record, and about Obama’s foreign-policy tendencies, when, all of a sudden, Kerry launched into an astonishingly complex and lengthy riff about the administration’s achievements in the international arena. Kerry delivered this spoken-word triumph without taking more than two breaths. I was hoping to include this epic moment in the aforementioned article, but even at 19,000 words, there wasn’t room. So I thought I would reproduce it in its entirety below, for our readers’ enjoyment and enlightenment, and so that Miranda can just lift it whole.