Saturday, September 14, 2013

What Just Happened?

Well, we seem to have a deal:
The United States and Russia have reached an agreement that calls for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.
Under a “framework” agreement, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, Mr. Kerry said, speaking at a news conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov.
Alrighty then.  For some reason Putin punted last Monday under the incredible pressure placed on him by the Obama administration and victory is at hand.  Obama the master tactician--pressuring war made peace!  The new doctrine. 

This despite the fact that last Monday the threat of an attack was perhaps at its lowest probability. Putin/Assad were facing the specter of a miniscule bombing run designed to take out a few bridges and rocket launchers at a time when even that plan had little if any support in either Congress or the international community.  Obama was like a marionette dangling in the corner he'd back himself into with no way out aside from becoming a hated war criminal or calling everything off and losing his entire legacy.  His scribes were rewriting his Tuesday war speech every hour.    

Then Putin saved his bacon.  So what the fork happened?

The agreement will of course be spun by our fair and balanced media as the greatest comeback since the days of Clinton, which will elevate the president just when he needs it--facing a fight against the real enemies and terrorists and neanderthals of the GOP and Tea Party over debt and government funding. Biden will probably call this outcome the gutsiest move since Obama's Bin Laden raid back in 2004.

Of course the true test for our country and the world will be 1) can Assad truly be disarmed, and 2) will Assad be punished for already using WMDs?  It's going to be a herculean task to disarm a tyrant during a civil war, probably impossible without a legitimate cease-fire and somebody's boots on the ground, both of which are problematic.  But this doesn't have to start happening until November according to the 'framework' agreement so Obama can have a free shot at the Republicans before things get tricky again towards Thanksgiving and Christmas (unless somebody shoots off WMDs again in the interim).

That gives the regime a few months to continue dispersing their arsenal and killing the rebels, which include head-chopping cannibals associated with AQ, or even perhaps moving some out of the country to friendly neighbors.  But the story can now disappear off the front pages for awhile. 

As to a true outcome, IF, and it's a big if, the chemicals can be located, counted, moved and destroyed then part of the victory will become real, but only part. The UN cannot leave a precedent where a dictator can gas his own people and then when pressured give up the weapons under agreement, only to escape completely without consequences.  So Assad will either have to be hauled off to the ICC at some point or sent to Allah to hobnob with Saddam. 

If that last step doesn't occur this will be a failure, whether the media or historians admit it or not. But surely the present situation is better than the bombing that was being considered, making it a preferred outcome despite the president literally stumbling into it.  For some reason we can thank president (and Times editorialist) Vladimir Putey Putin for enabling that stumble....for reasons still unknown.

MORE  9/14/13

This article, purportedly of several ISIS fighters (AQ-related) in Syria, explains in very vivid detail why the west/United States is losing the Global War on Terror.   These young men are committed soldiers for a cause, whereas the population of the United States (and the west at large) is not committed to the fight at all, mainly because our leadership is afraid to make us committed lest it appear to be a war on Islam.

We are going to lose if we don't see the stakes involved.

A NEW DAY  9/14/13

...and the strategy and rhetoric seems to change with every sunrise.  Here's Jay Carney on Wednesday, explaining how the threat of force alone had forced Putin to the negotiating table...
There is no question that the credible threat of U.S. military force brought us this diplomatic opening.

Just three days later here is the Decider Guy in his weekly address:
This week, when I addressed the nation on Syria, I said that – in part because of the credible threat of U.S. military force – there is the possibility of a diplomatic solution.
What will tomorrow bring? 

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