In June 2013, Vladimir Putin's Russia, exploiting the situation in Syria, announced that it has stationed 16 warships in the Mediterranean Sea and will have a permanent presence there.
This week, after the new leader of al-Qaida announced a threat to U.S. installations in the Middle East, the Obama administration ordered Americans to leave 19 installations in the Muslim world.
The president then went on a late-night comedy show to talk about it.
As for Putin, who has since given shelter to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, Obama said there are "times when they [the Russians] slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality.
"And what I consistently say to them, and what I say to President Putin, is that's the past and we've got to think about the future . . ."
The next day he said he would not meet with Putin at an upcoming summit.
The United States now looks weak, irresolute and irrelevant in the Middle East.
It's a good thing that al-Qaida poses no threat to the United States and the Cold War is over. If these threats were serious, the United States would be losing big.