To this day, Obama seems not to understand the damage he did to American credibility everywhere by slinking away from his own self-proclaimed red line on Syrian use of chemical weapons.
He seems equally unaware of the message sent by his refusal to arm the secular opposition (over the objections of Secretary of State Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and CIA Director David Petraeus) when it was still doable. He ridicules the idea as “fantasy” because we’d be arming amateurs up against a well-armed government “backed by Russia, backed by Iran [and] a battle-hardened Hezbollah.”
He thus admits that Russian and other outside support was crucial to tilting the outcome of this civil war to Bashar al-Assad. Yet he dismisses countervailing U.S. support as useless. He thus tells the world of his disdain for the traditional U.S. role of protecting friends by deterring and counterbalancing adversarial outside powers.