Who ever heard of a presidency already into its second term that, according to just about all observers, has only one significant achievement, and clearly hasn't a hope in hell of getting a second one?
Ever fewer countries, allies, or enemies, are paying attention, much less kowtowing, to the once-formidable power of the world's last superpower. The list of defiant figures -- from Egyptian generals to Saudi princes, Iraqi Shiite leaders to Israeli politicians -- is lengthening.
Talk about missing the point. And no, I do not refer to the mindless mainstream media (who apparently don't know the difference between "a filibuster" and "a 21-hour ego trip").
What has this story to do with the Syrian situation? Once you get beyond the observation that Obama and Chamberlain were both political leaders, the similarities become obscure. America is clearly the strongest nation in the world. Unpreparedness is not an issue here.
The fact that LGBT rights violations were, for the first time, the subject of a ministerial meeting was widely noticed by diplomats, the media and other observers. It's a sign of the increasing visibility of these issues, and of the political importance that many countries now attach to them.
Barack Obama is only the latest in a jostling crowd of candidates, politicians, and minor figures of every sort, not to speak of a raging horde of neocons and pundits galore, who have felt compelled in recent years to tell us and the world just how exceptional the United States really is.
Some in the U.S. concluded that at long last, Tehran desires a thaw in its relations with Washington and a normalization. I remain skeptical, hoping they are correct, but unwilling to make that leap for a number of reasons.
Had President Obama ordered missile strikes on Syria, Iran's ally, the moderate forces in Tehran might well have been undercut to the point that they couldn't have made the concessions necessary to achieve that kind of deal.
While foreign-born "natives" imagine India with grand religious tradition or Bollywood songs, to people in places like Sri Lanka, India is a neighborhood bully -- an interfering sibling at best and a manipulative oppressor at worst.
The West is still mystified by the Arab World. Absent real understanding, our public discourse and, too often, our policy debates are informed by crude myths and negative stereotypes of the region, its culture and its people.
As the once-too-near and perhaps future disaster of the Syrian crisis is again reminding us, Team America has lost much of its margin for error, shrinking further in a decade of austerity.
We are exactly where we were in April of 2011. That is to say, Assad's killing machine continues, Russia's backing of the regime continues, and any political settlement is going to be bogged down in diplomatic squabbles.
After the dust has settled, though, Obama and like-minded American politicians must learn from the Syrian mistake.
National polls show nearly across-the-board declines in public confidence in Democratic leadership. In the usual partisan calculus of win-and-loss this would seem the moment of the chief executive's maximum weakness and, therefore, of Republican advantage. Consider this, though.
On Tuesday, President Obama called upon Congress to postpone indefinitely a debate on a military strike on Syria. Among the Syrian refugees whom I am ...
At no point has the United States actively supported an effort to achieve a decisive outcome to the Syrian civil war.