As a candidate he sneered at the Bush foreign policy, promised “smart diplomacy” and prepared to exploit his “historic” election around the globe. It didn’t work out that way. New evidence of President Obama’s utter ineffectiveness in foreign policy pops up every day. The Iran talks have been exposed as a dud. The same on Syria:

President Barack Obama admitted late Tuesday that, despite his fervent in-person appeals, leaders of Russia and China had not “signed on” to his diplomatic campaign for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of a plan to end the country’s bloody violence.

Obama described his meetings Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tuesday with Chinese President Hu Jintao as “very candid” and “intensive” on the issue of Syria and the question of Assad’s removal.

“If you’re asking me whether they signed on to that proposition, I don’t think it would be fair to say that they are there yet,” Obama said at a press conference in Mexico, where he was attending a summit of the Group of 20 nations

Rather than do something else (such as lead a coalition excluding Russia and China), Obama will obsessively stick with the fruitless option. (“I’m going to keep on making the argument. And my expectation is, is that at some point there’s a recognition that it’s hard to envision a better future for Syria while Assad is still there.”) Sigh. He really doesn’t have a clue what to do — or doesn’t want to do anything.

Obama’s remarks at the G-20 were underwhelming, to say the least. When the New York Times’ Frank Bruni says Obama’s news conference was a display of weakness, you know how unimpressive the president is:

Well, right there, I mean, he looked really de-energized,” responded Bruni. “I was watching him, you know, as he stepped to the podium. One of the whole advantages of being President, of being the incumbent, is you get those settings – the flags behind you, the podium. You get the international audience.”

And he strode out there,” Bruni continued, “and the cadence of his speech was very slowed down. There was a lot of hemming and hawing. He got the first question from the press and answered, that answer went on and on and on, and he provided this really strange tutorial on European economic dynamics, and I just, I don’t think that’s what he went to do when he went to that microphone.”

Bruni put an exclamation point on this critique adding, “He doesn’t seem in command.”

Yikes. Bruni sounds like Charles Krauthammer.

Obama can't even fake being competent and in command in international affairs. Obama is presiding over the decline of the U.S. everywhere, as Krauthammer says, and no one much cares what he says. He is weakness and indecision personified. It is fair to say he is as adrift on foreign policy as he is on domestic affairs, maybe more. The full impact of his diminished importance on the world stage may not be apparent for some time. We hope it won’t come in the form of a smoldering Tel Aviv or a Taliban-run Afghanistan or China’s hegemony in Asia.