With his time dwindling on the global stage, President Obama is seizing every moment of this week's gathering of world leaders here to define his misunderstood worldview -- before it defines him. Increasingly, the rest of the world is testing where the president's boundaries lie and what they might expect of the United States in the wake of his eight years of military disengagement and multi-nation approach to squelching war and violence abroad.
"The world is turning around and saying, You are being passive, you are not leading,'" Jon Alterman, a Middle East specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. That has consequences for the rest of the world, where some see the U.S. as retreating and leaving room for other big state players to assert themselves. "This is a new, weaker America that is having the Russians run circles around it," Alterman said.