WASHINGTON - We now know that Barack Obama's national security warnings were written in disappearing ink that runs and fades the moment he gets into trouble.
As reports began appearing with increasing frequency, that Syrian monster Bashar al-Assad was using chemical weapons against his own people, Obama tried playing the tough guy, warning the Damascus dictator that doing so would cross "a red line" that would invite U.S. retaliation.
Believing Obama was all bluff and bluster whose threats weren't worth the paper they were printed on, Assad sent gas-filled, rocket- propelled missiles into civilian populated areas outside the capital that were supporting the rebel freedom fighters.
Obama sent U.S. battle ships into the region, armed with cruise missiles, then went before the country to say he would punish Assad by bombing his military facilities. He also said he'd seek the support of European leaders at the G-20 summit and a vote of approval from Congress to show national solidarity.
But he flew home from St. Petersburg with no support for his limited, punitive war plans, a stunning international rebuke for a U.S. president. Then he woke up the next day to a pile of polls showing most Americans opposed getting involved in Syria's bloody civil war.
That was followed by the ultimate humiliation: Advisers told him he couldn't win a vote of approval in the GOP-run House, where a number of Democrats planned to vote no, and the Democratic Senate also looked like an impossible sell.
Obama was in a foreign policy stew of his own making, looking weak, confused and incompetent as ever, and not knowing what to do next. CBS News veteran Bob Schieffer put it best when he said on the air, "What a mess."
That's when Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad's chief apologist and principal arms provider, threw Obama a political lifeline to get out of the foreign policy disaster he had created. But only on Putin's terms that served his own sinister interests as well as those of Bashar al-Assad.
Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry grabbed the Russian leader's plan and eagerly swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
Putin's devious offer -- if anyone believes it will happen -- calls for Assad to turn over his chemical weapons to full international control and to insure that none of them have been hidden for later use. That's a process that will take months if not years to conduct and complete. It has many doubters.