By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – President Obama gave his final speech at the United Nations Tuesday, and struggled to identify a way in which the world is a significantly better place now than when he came into office eight years ago.

You may remember that when Obama was first elected, he and his supporters believed it would usher in a new era of enhanced popularity for the U.S. overseas, but that never happened. America haters were happy to transfer their venom from Bush to Obama. The “new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect” he promised in his first U.N. speech hasn’t materialized. And while he claims major success with the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, those claims are debatable, to say the least.

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Almost mournfully, the president conceded Tuesday that “perhaps too many in Washington believed” that the world’s problems “could be solved by Washington,” and that clearly is not the case. While Russia’s aggression has vindicated Mitt Romney’s 2012 warnings, would Romney be having more success in stopping it than Obama is? Would the Middle East be a calmer place now had John McCain been president for the last eight years? I doubt it.

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Which brings us to the current race for president.

The latest attacks in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota have once again forced the major candidates to address terror. Hillary Clinton offers a slightly beefed-up version of the Obama plan. Donald Trump claims he has a great plan, but has to keep it secret for fear of tipping off the enemy.

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Neither response seems very inspiring. But I guess we’re making some progress. At least they’re not over-promising.

Jon Keller