Another Tack: Barack and Bernard-Henri

BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY with Libyan insurgents. Sparing no hyperbole, he declared Benghazi "the capital not only of Libya but of free men and women all over the world." (Reuters)One day before US President Barack Obama touched down here and began to beguile us, flamboyant French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy was reportedly barred from Libya’s Tripoli because of his Jewishness. On the face of it, these two episodes are wholly unconnected. But, on closer inspection, they’re not.

Lévy had been an avid Obama fan since 2004, gushed about him unreservedly and even crowned Obama the “Black Kennedy.” However, there’s way more that ties the two men. Obama and Lévy are both hyper-hyped photogenic trendsetters and charismatic superstars. Foremost, though, both have compelling reason to reevaluate their strongly held maxims.

Both believed in the Arab Spring, in heralding a new free-thinking and broadminded Arab orientation. Each in his own way contributed to what he trusted was a defining historic makeover. Continue reading