Very insightful, this from the Belmont Club.
So when an African-American President gets up on a stage in Copenhagen and dons sack-cloth and ashes; apologizes for his culture and all the rest, he is really telling two stories. To the domestic audience it is the familiar tale of guilt and redemption. But to the international audience it is in some ways a totally different narrative. It says, “we are only the man behind the curtain. The Mighty Oz is nothing but the flacks I have around me.” He is the demolishing the very aura that brought him there, because when you come down to it, the invitation was extended not to him as a person, but as the leader of the once mythical and legendary United States of America. He was careless of his legacy.
The "Power of Legend." Sort of like when we say "It's not enough for the other team to lose. They must be beaten." Sets up an expectation of your superiority and dominance that extends to shape future encounters.
Trade that for power for standing among fickle friends at home and abroad? Apparently not even enough to land an Olympic city win. How much will it buy us in the big game where they play for keeps?