The hallmark of Barack Obama's zig-zag presidency is that he never focuses on a problem for very long. He shifts from one to another in a desperate search for an issue that will save his legacy.
One moment he's threatening to bomb Syria's poison gas depots. The next, he's embracing a sneaky delaying strategy from the Kremlin, letting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad freely resume his brutal attacks on his own people.
Remember Syria? A mere two months after Assad gave the go-ahead to launch a grisly sarin gas attack on Syrian civilians, "the episode appears to have been forgotten" in the Oval Office, the Washington Post observed last week.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered a deal to begin long term negotiations that would eliminate Assad's stocks of chemical weapons. Negotiations are to begin late next month in Geneva. But this deal -- which Putin and his pal Assad put together -- will take many months if not years to achieve -- as Assad proceeds with his deadly suppression of Syria's rebellion.
Assad has resumed bombing the civilian population in urban centers, and has been blocking food supplies in an attempt to starve his people in a brutal effort to put down Syria's rebel uprising once and for all.
The deal that was so eagerly embraced by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry is accomplishing just what Russia and Assad wanted: time to finish their evil deeds without a peep from Washington.
Of course nothing will come from the meeting in Geneva, which is likely to turn into a lengthy exercise in diplomatic mumbo-jumbo. Assad has made it clear he does not plan to leave office, and the U.S. has no serious proposals that could force him to step down.
"The West's problem is that the camp it supports in the negotiations is divided and has no control on the ground," Assad said in a recent interview with the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar.
Meantime, the blood bath continues, a messy subject the president avoids talking about.
"Perhaps it's no surprise that it's Mr. Assad rather than Mr. Obama who wants to talk about this. For the United States, it's a bleak and shameful picture," the Post said in a lead editorial.
But for the Obama administration, that was yesterday's crisis, and they've moved on to other problems, like the approaching collapse of Obamacare.
First came the bungled rollout of the on-line, sign-up process that prevented untold thousands of people from completing the complicated and lengthy application forms.