For how long has Israel been acting discretely – or not – in Syria? Netanyahu admitted that Israeli forces operate from “time to time” in its war-torn neighbor. Netanyahu also met with Putin in Paris, and apparently they co-ordinated the movements of their respective militaries in Syria to avoid a confrontation similar to what happened between Russia and Turkey.

If that isn’t tough pragmatism on the part of the Israeli leader, the term is meaningless. What is happening in Syria matters to Israel greatly, especially when it comes to ISIL. Israel’s response has been focused, ruthless, and discrete. A very impressive trinity.

Then there’s Obama’s strategy in Syria. Inconsistent, self-righteous, and unfocused. A less than holy trinity. Which has left allies and former colleagues like Secretary of Defense Hagel angry and confused. Lines get noisily drawn and then are allowed to be swept away by the swirl of events as the administration carefully does nothing.

Is President Obama like a ghost in the machine? Impelled by the executive power inherent in his job and by his position as a world leader to say something, but do little? Or do the wrong thing?

How about Obama phoning up Netanyahu and asking him for some advice? Admitting things haven’t gone well and then asking “what would actually work in your neighborhood Bibi?”

An unlikely event of course. Though chat by phone they must do from “time to time.”

What did get talked about in those long wandering meetings on Syria when Hagel was still Defense Secretary? Was it filled with politically correct caution over how to allow Syrian rebels find their own destiny as America aided their battle with Assad? Nation-building and political correctness thrown like spinning dice into a deadly civil war. With a leader that refuses to actually place a bet. No one has – or would have had a few years ago – an easy answer to Syria, because there never was one. But the Obama administration’s actions in the Middle East have lacked any pragmatic workable answer at all.

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