Dr Alf is right, Obama lacks the ability to deal with tough and ruthless foreign operators like Vladimir Putin and Xi Jin Ping. Putin is a master chess player and a man of surprise moves, yet Obama is caught flat-footed again and again in Syria and elsewhere.
Putin can now show that he stood by his allies, Assad, even though the two of them have fallen out. And he has demonstrated the effectiveness of his military machine, which has missiles with a longer range than anything to which the Americans will admit.
In addition, the price of oil is slowly rising again, which means that he has outlasted Western sanctions and is in a position to turn the screw on European leaders by using his military to obliterate Syrian rebels and accelerate the flow of refugees and economic migrants, which creates costs for Europe greater than the costs of European sanctions on Russia.