Thus, after more than three weeks of bluster and hand wringing President Obama successfully maneuvered the world into a place where Syria is negotiating not with the U.S. or the UN, but with one of its strongest allies: Russia.
The United States has been reduced to the equivalent of sitting at the kids' table during Thanksgiving dinner pretending to, in the words of Paul Simon, "speak of things that matter, with words that must be said."
Our President is seen as weak and, if not confused, at least indecisive. That means the United States is seen as, at best, tired and bewildered.
If it were just not having the capacity to lead in complex and difficult circumstances, that would be bad enough. But, it appears we have no ability to react to events even after they've occurred.
We can snicker and - as Conservatives - even gloat, over the glaring insufficiencies of President Obama in foreign affairs, but we must realize that North Korea and Iran; the Taliban and the Pakistanis; and places in Africa, Asia and South America that we haven't even thought about may see this as their opportunity to strike at their neighbors, or at the United States. Or both.
If America has thrown its badge into the dust, then it is a dangerous world without its only sheriff.
The world is a tough town.