Rich Galen

The Syrian situation is no closer to resolution now than when the Arab Spring began. It is worse if you consider the Russians (again under the thumb of Vladimir Putin) and the Chinese (who are coming to believe this is the Chinese Century) have ignored pleas to help isolate Bashar al-Assad.

In fact, in an essay in the Asia Times - not a pro-western outlet - Peter Lee writes that during the recent summit between Putin and Chinese leader Hu Jintao they considered the future of Syria and its relation to Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Lee wrote:

"Absent from the discussion is the United States, which has abdicated any claims to moral or political leadership and contents itself by bleating from the sidelines as the Western media pleasures itself with fantasies of righteousness."

That may not be the official Chinese position, but it's online and we know how closely the Chinese monitor Internet traffic, so we can assume it is at least acceptable.

And, you will remember that Putin snubbed Obama by refusing to attend the G-8 meeting at Camp David last month.

Russia is the 8th nation in the G-8 (along with the U.S., France, U.K., Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan) so it cannot bode well for American global influence when Putin declined to participate.

Putin and Obama are scheduled to have a sit-down at the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico next week. In a Reuters piece, reporters Matt Spetalnick and Steve Gutterman write that notwithstanding Obama's claim that he was hitting the "reset" button in US-Russian relations, he has not met with Putin in three years and,

"Washington finds itself increasingly at odds with Moscow on issues from Syria and Iran to missile defense and human rights. Putin shows no sign of backing away from the anti-Western rhetoric and positions that have long been his hallmark."

Put aside, for the moment, the concept of "American Exceptionalism." President Obama is allowing the more basic concept of "American Leadership" to slip into the pages of world history.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at