Barack Obama had eight years in which to dissuade North Korea, but he irresponsibly squandered this time.
The first overseas visit of the American president has a clear anti-Iranian character.
The supposed camaraderie between the two has cooled as the months have passed.
If there is no expectation of great success inside the country, it is time to win a loud and cost-effective victory in the international arena.
Intervening in Syria would require not just major military muscle but years of nation building, a task dreaded by many Americans. And as Obama knew, war-weary Americans still suffering economically from the fallout of a financial crisis were in no mood for such a commitment.