Well, well, it seems that Secretary of State John “Swift Boat” Kerry has out-nuanced himself again. By making Syria an offer to retract the Administration’s threat of a military strike in exchange for surrendering their chemical weapons, Kerry was making a bluff that he didn’t think would be called.
If international politics is a chess game, it’s a game the Russians know a thing or two about. By calling on Syria to accept the offer, with the proviso that it would be carried out under the auspices of the UN thereby ensuring the ‘international control’ end of the deal, they have effectively neutered American threats. Even the French, the last remaining international fig leaf for Obama, are now crowing about letting the UN take this up. No doubt any ‘international control’ would have a heavy dose of Russian input, but Assad is their guy. They could volunteer some of their not inconsiderable military expertise in the CBRN field to corral and control these weapons, and, possibly, give Assad a little help on the side.
Obama’s risible response intimating that it was ‘American threats’ that forced the Russians’ hand just embarrasses the Administration more. No, the Russians spotted an opening and it’s knight to bishop seven, check.
It appears that the Syrians have accepted the Russian offer. No matter how credible or incredible that is, or how long it takes to organize anything in the UN, there is now diplomatic motion here. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, with large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents opposed to a strike, the prospect of a heavy defeat in the House of Representatives, and even the Democrat-controlled Senate up for grabs, the president’s support at home, and power on the world stage, is melting away by the hour. It’s now straw-clutching time in the White House, hence the feigned interest from the State Department in the Russian proposal.
If chemical weapons really were the concern of the White House, and if this proposal has legs to it, then the Americans have no grounds to attack Syria now, unless, of course, it was all about regime change in the first place. And what would that do anyway, bring to power another jihadist, al-Qaida bandit regime?
And if the president still wants to move on a strike, with no support at home or abroad, then wouldn’t the Russians be justified in helping out their ally, especially as Syria hasn’t attacked the US, or any other country for that matter? Has ‘the smartest man ever elected president’ thought of that? I doubt it.