The conventional view in Washington these days is that President Barack Obama is not having such a great second term and might already be suffering a bit of lame duckery.... But here's a Slate Pitch: Obama is the most wily tactician in the nation's capital since Lyndon Johnson.
Having sparked a contentious debate on Capitol Hill—with opposition to a strike on the rise—Obama appeared to have led himself into a political quagmire. He got perilously close to what could have been an embarrassing defeat. But before Congress could vote, this mess yielded a beneficial outcome: it drew Putin into co-ownership of the chemical weapons problem. As Obama failed to gain support on the Hill for an attack on the Assad regime, Putin leapt into the fray to broker a deal that would supposedly end with Syria's chemical weapons under international control.