The world’s longest job application had its second instalment today, with Niall Ferguson’s latest piece for Newsweek bagging President Obama.

Followers of the brilliant, hardworking, lunatic British historian may remember his piece “Hit the Road Barack“, a purported excoriation of the President’s record, which itself earnt a firestorm of criticism for errors and obvious misinterpretation. Newsweek, an increasingly desperate publication yoked to online daily The Daily Beast, wasn’t keen on issuing clarifications and corrections, and Ferguson has now doubled-down on that piece with a foreign affairs overview “The President Fiddles As The World Burns“.

It’s the same mixture of half-truth and outright lies — Obama quit Iraq (no, the Iraqis wouldn’t consent to continued bases), refuses to consent to an Israeli pre-emptive strike (which even ex-heads of Mossad say is crazy) and “fiddles while Syria burns” (as opposed to doing what, precisely?). It rises to a fine pitch of frustration in the final passage:

“The president who was once a foreign-policy neophyte now makes much of his experience. That claim depends heavily on a program of targeted assassination that liberals would have denounced if it had been pursued by his predecessor.”

Well, liberals do denounce the drone policy — but more interestingly conservatives don’t approve what, under Bush, they would have applauded as “dealing with our enemies”.

Ferguson’s rather plaintive appeal to Mitt Romney to get his act together is all the more desperate given the Mittster’s unforced balls-up of the Embassy burning. But the disaster is not Mitt’s alone. Ferguson’s desire for to be a consigliere to American power has been naked on display for years — only to be thwarted by, of all people, a black half-Kenyan, who allegedly banished a bust of Churchill (who killed thousands of Kenyans) from the White House.

Since Ferguson’s rosy view of empire was borne of a couple of years of childhood spent in … Kenya, post-independence, but still in the imperial afterglow, the fact that he may be shut out of power for another four years by the grandson of a Mau-Mau sympathiser has plainly sent the poor man mad.

As an added bonus, the magazine has a lead feature by Ferguson’s current partner Ayaan Hirsi Ali which is, amazingly, mostly about Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Enjoy.

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Peter Fray

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