Obama’s World Tour: A Rising or a Setting Sun?

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President Barack Obama’s itinerary this month — first to Asia, then to Europe — will follow a path that recalls the setting of the sun. For some people, that image is a metaphor for American power, itself seen as waning. The theme of American decline is a familiar one, of course. It resurfaces more or less with every election, and with every poll that asks whether the country is “headed in the right direction.” However, the evocation of direction suggests a more apt image for Obama’s journey: the two-headed eagle. It was once a common feature of imperial heraldry — […]

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