Obama sees Syria as one of the definitions of his presidency. But Syria is the battleground for a 21st Century proxy war. Iran, Saudi Arabia, many major players are there. And there is something else: Obama can't afford to do a 'W' and go in with all guns blazing. The president's past, steeped in vociferous opposition of the Iraq War, won't allow it.
I am not competent enough to speak about the legacy that will survive Mandela. Nor am I versed in the study of politics to fully appreciate just how extraordinary Mandela's achievements have been. I am qualified to call Mandela one of the most iconic figures of our time and perhaps the 20th century's foremost actor for egalitarianism and liberation.