Can the United States survive the remaining 3 1/2 years of the Obama presidency? That was the question I asked a well-known veteran of Washington politics and national-security issues.

Though a Democrat, he is trusted and respected by both parties for his many years of advice and troubleshooting service to the nation.

I asked the question because our long conversation reflected shared worries about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and America’s retreat. We discussed the disasters of Syria, Benghazi and Obama’s strange support for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. We agreed the odds were growing that Iran would get a nuclear weapon and feared what it would mean for Israel and our Arab allies.


We expressed shock at the lasting damage done to our intelligence agencies by Edward Snowden, the sloppy background check that enabled him to get security clearance in the first place and the Keystone Kops effort to capture him. We winced that our nation’s reputation was an international punch line as Russia and China mocked our president.

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Given that context, my question of whether America can survive Obama was not just a figure of speech or an exaggerated musing. I meant it literally.

My friend understood my meaning.

“I don’t know,” he said. When I pressed him, he reviewed the scope of the global disorder we had just discussed, and repeated his answer. “I don’t know,” he said a second time.

The exchange happened last week, and my heart skips a beat when I recall it. His answer wasn’t what I expected or hoped for.

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Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.