The failures of Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda are starting to become crystal clear. This is a president so weak and inept that he has allowed Russia to once again become a military power worth worrying about. Vladimir Putin, sensing this weakness, has decided that he can do whatever he wants with little fear of American reprise. And, of course, he’s absolutely right.

Expressly against the wishes of the U.S., Russian fighter jets began dropping bombs Wednesday on anti-Assad forces. At press time, there is still some controversy about whether Russia struck ISIS hideouts or those used by American-supported moderate rebels. The early picture, though, leans closer to the latter. That means that Putin is not only taking a firm stance of support for Assad but actively working against the United States.

To erase any doubt about Putin’s intentions, the Russians actually demanded that the U.S. pull their warplanes out of Syria altogether while they carried out their missions. And it’s surprising that the U.S. didn’t just bend over and comply. Instead, John Kerry met with his Russian equivalent to apparently work out a deal where the two sides could stay out of each other’s way.

“We must not be confused in our fight against ISIL with support for Assad,” said Kerry.

Well, Mr. Kerry, you have to admit…it’s a little confusing. Obama has said over and over again that Assad has to go. And that makes our crusade against his top enemies a strange mission indeed. Not to say that we shouldn’t be attacking ISIS, but this whole clustermuck defies rational strategy. Which is exactly why Putin feels justified in picking up the slack. He, at least, has a coherent goal.

“Russia will not succeed in imposing a military solution any more than the United States was successful in imposing a military solution in Iraq a decade ago, and certainly any more than Russia was able to impose a military solution in Afghanistan three decades ago,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

Really? We’re staring down the barrel of a new Cold War, and this guy’s rehashing Bush criticisms? Let’s think about this: Is there any way Putin would have dared to tell the Bush military to clear out of Syria and make room for a real war plan? Not bloody likely. Say what you will about Bush, but he was abundantly clear when it came to American might.

To Putin, Obama is a child. The U.S. has become a paper tiger under his leadership, and his feckless approach to the Middle East has made the world a far more dangerous place. Until we have a president in office who can actually stomach the responsibility of being commander-in-chief, we might as well let Russia do what they will inside Syria. It’s pretty sad that a Russian tyrant looks like the model of competency next to the American president, but that’s where we’ve arrived.