Steve Kroft: He's challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He's challenging your leadership--
President Barack Obama: Well Steve, I got to tell you, if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we've got a different definition of leadership. My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we'll get in Paris. My definition of leadership is mobilizing the entire world community to make sure that Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon. And with respect to the Middle East, we've got a 60-country coalition that isn't suddenly lining up around Russia's strategy. To the contrary, they are arguing that, in fact, that strategy will not work.
Indeed. The point on Ukraine in this transcript is key: that Putin is not magically leading Russia to superpower status by taking apart Ukraine, but that he lost his patsy there, and had to respond in an ad hoc manner. Yes, he got a hunk of Ukraine in Crimea, but he has also alienated a country and a people that were ambivalent about the West.