Keep that in mind as the revisionist history begins emerging from some quarters -- i.e., our patiently brilliant president once again demonstrates his mastery of n-dimensional policy chess. This may end up coming out “right,” in the sense that the U.S. will have been delivered a face-saving way to back down from a threat on which Obama never seriously intended to make good, and Syria may give up some of its chemical weapons, forcing the government to rely on unreliable methods such as bullets to slaughter thousands of its own citizens.
But if it does turn out “well,” this will be because the president was lucky, not brilliant...Hmmm, where I have I heard this argument before? Ah yes --"Jane Galt," January 2007*, talking about Iraq not going the way she expected:
Human beings tend to judge failure or success by outcome, rather than process. It’s an easy heuristic, but as in so many things, the easy way out is often disastrous.
This has not convinced me of the brilliance of the doves, because precisely none of the ones that I argued with predicted that things would go wrong in the way they did. If you get the right result, with the wrong mechanism, do you get credit for being right, or being lucky?Everyone gets a little peeved at pundits who are spectacularly wrong and proceed blithely as if they hadn't been, but after this, I'm actually grateful that they don't take the time to explain why other people were only right because of luck, or why right is wrong, etc.
(*Sorry for the indirect link -- McArdle has wisely memory-holed [or, as we like to say around here, Sullivaned] her old posts.)