That is no cause for cheering, not as long as Putin has pipe dreams of being a super-power. The Russian bear has been wounded. But his thirst for adventurism is not yet slaked by the Islamic State’s setbacks and military blunders. Fortunately the means to becoming a superpower equal to the United States are way beyond Russia’s reach.
If national success is measured by economic strength, Russia is way back in the pack. It trails the United States in economic and population growth, in troops under arms and in most weaponry. And the Russian government, wasting precious resources on Putin’s world-power aspirations, is in no position to meet its social obligations to its people.
Obama is correct to not give in to Putin’s desire to be regarded as more important than he is. Or to give credence to Russia’s imagined influence on the world stage. And Obama is also right to keep a cool head and to continue building an international coalition of heavy hitters to launch attacks on global terrorism.