Con Couglin, the defense editor of the Telegraph and expert on terrorism, sums it up in this blogpost. Obama's weakness on Syria and his refusal to negotiate on government spending has produced a situation in which "the longer the Obama presidency continues, the more America's status as a superpower ebbs away."

"There was a time not so long ago when the world looked to America for both political and economic leadership. But now that can no longer be taken for granted thanks to Mr. Obama's inability to provide decisive leadership on either front."

This, from a friend and admirer of the United States, and a determined and well-informed enemy of our terrorist foes. While Obama's press secretary talks of Republican "hostage taking," his boss has a pleasant telephone conversation with the Islamist president of Iran. Truly sad times for the United States.