Barack Obama came to office arousing more enthusiasm world-wide than any previous American president. He promised to close Guantanamo. Why is it still open? He ordered the operation to kill Osama bin Laden. What risks made him pause? In his speeches he promised to restore America's moral standing in the world. Why did he then authorise more extrajudicial executions by drone than George W. Bush? He succeeded in passing a national health care law. Why did the opponents of this reform bring the US to the edge of default in an effort to stop it?