While many in the media are actually crediting Barack Obama for Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposed Syrian chemical weapons "solution," TIME magazine's Joe Klein isn't one of them.
Far from it, Klein penned a scathing rebuke of Obama's handling of Syria Wednesday calling it "one of the more stunning and inexplicable displays of presidential incompetence that I’ve ever witnessed...The consequences of Obama’s amateur display ripple out across the world."
"He willingly jumped into a bear trap of his own creation. In the process, he has damaged his presidency and weakened the nation’s standing in the world," Klein wrote.
"As it stands," he continued, "no one will be surprised if [Putin's] offer is a ruse, but the Administration is now trapped into seeing it through and gambling that it will be easier to get a congressional vote if it fails."
Klein addressed changes in the Middle East that will continue to occur in the coming decades including "the formation of new countries, like Kurdistan, along ethnic and sectarian lines, and the process will undoubtedly be bloody."
But our involvement in such matters in the recent past has proven unsuccessful in Klein's view, and Obama's buggling has left America in a weaker position to have any positive impact on world events.
"He has now damaged his ability to get his way with the Chinese, the Iranians and even the Israelis."
"The question now is whether Obama’s inability to make his military threat in Syria real—and the American people’s clear distaste for more military action—will empower the hard-liners in the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guards Corps to give no quarter in the negotiations," Klein wrote.
"The Chinese, who have been covetous of the South China Sea oil fields, may not be as restrained as they have been in the past," he continued. "The Japanese may feel the need to revive their military, or even go nuclear, now that the promise of American protection seems less reliable. The consequences of Obama’s amateur display ripple out across the world."
But Obama's incompetence doesn't just have an international impact in Klein's view. There are domestic consequences as well.
"[A]fter Syria," Klein warned, "it will be difficult for any member of Congress to believe that this President will stick to his guns or provide protection."
I'm not sure Syria was the straw that broke the camel's back for Republicans, but if a liberal such as Klein has these kinds of concerns, that certainly might be the case for Democrats.