TURIN — The destiny of soon-to-be former President Barack Obama reminds me of history's great love stories. Desire then regret, always longing for something that is never quite fulfilled.

When the 44th President of the United States appeared on the scene he was charismatic, athletic and affable, making history as the first African-American nominee from a major party. It was love at first sight, and the world was so enamored that it wound up giving him the Nobel Peace Prize just for showing up.

Barack Obama was supposed to change the world; instead the world kept changing on its own accord, as if he didn't even exist. Our fascination with Obama and his widely popular First Lady, Michelle, captured our imaginations but failed to defuse racial tensions in the United States. As the American middle class continues its decline, Russia is asserting its military authority and China its economic might.

It would be unfair to say that Obama has been a bad President, though he hasn't proven to be a political mastermind either. Still, he has shown tenacity and extraordinary vision in diplomacy. Despite rising from obscurity to the presidency in four years, Obama struggled to challenge the dominant power of multinational corporations and the financial industry. His failure to keep his campaign promises isn't solely his fault; the blame also lies within America's political system and its failure to govern effectively and redistribute income fairly.

And now, after all the messages of hope and change eight years ago, Barack Obama will leave a peculiar legacy. He leaves behind a Western world that is weaker and poorer than the one he inherited — and will be succeeded by a man the world is certain will make things worse. Barack Obama, the world will miss you.


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