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Foreign failures: The paper tiger meows

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Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Vladimir Putin surely is laughing off his sorry behind today in Moscow. And we'll bet Bashar Assad is laughing off his far sorrier rear end so much in Damascus that he has the dry heaves.

President Obama, whose particularly odoriferous brand of foreign policy deferentialism already has belittled, spayed and neutered the United States in the eyes of our foreign allies, was handed a pair of embarrassing, in-your-face rebukes last week by two of the world's current leading antagonists.

Five months after the Russians “brokered” a deal — on the off-the-cuff lips of Secretary of State John Kerry — in which Syria promised to give up its chemical weapons arsenal, Mr. Assad continues to hold 95 percent of his weapons of mass destruction. America's “official” response? We're “concerned,” the administration says, speaking ever more softly and carrying an even more flaccid stick.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the Russians have been, for at least five years, testing a new ground-launched cruise missile. It's in direct violation of 1987's treaty banning medium-range missiles. Insiders tell The New York Times that despite pressure from members of Congress, who've received a classified briefing on the gross violation, to issue a firm denouncement, the administration only hems, haws and parses. As Washington Free Beacon pundit Matthew Continetti divines the illogic: “We cannot say the Russians broke the treaty because that would jeopardize our chances of signing more treaties with the Russians.”

Who can doubt that Messrs. Putin and Assad have on their desks origami paper tigers with a photo of Barack Obama pasted onto the heads?

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