President Barack Obama’s conflicting signals on Syria perplexed congressional leaders, gave his critics ammunition to depict his foreign policy as feckless, and runs the risk of weakening his standing as a global leader.
Now his reputation may rest on a course that is rife with obstacles, including reaching a deal with a Russian leader he likened a month ago to a bored schoolboy.
Obama’s options have been curtailed by American distaste for military intervention in the wake of the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, said Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center, a global security think tank.
“When you fight a very unpopular war, and there have been two of them, a president’s maneuverability narrows,” Krepon said. “The United States is as wounded today as we were in the wake of the Vietnam War.”
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