President Obama’s minions are trying to spin the Syrian debacle into some kind of foreign policy success. As usual, their efforts are intended to convince those who haven’t been paying close attention. But in the Syrian government, there is no ambiguity about what happened. A Syrian minister explains:
Syria’s Minister for National Reconciliation said on Sunday that the chemical weapons agreement between Russia and the United States was a “victory” for Damascus, won by its Russian allies, and had taken away the pretext for war.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Saturday in Geneva on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to account for his chemical weapons within a week. The deal may avert U.S. military strikes.
“This agreement, an achievement of Russian diplomats and the Russian leadership, is a victory for Syria won thanks to our Russian friends,” Ali Haidar told Russian news agency RIA.
“We welcome this agreement. From one point of view, it will help Syrians exit the crisis, from another, it has prevented a war against Syria, having taken away the pretext for one from those who wanted to unleash (it),” he said.
I am not as unhappy about Putin’s manhandling of Obama as some, since I didn’t think we should bomb Syria in the first place. To some degree, I share Obama’s relief at being taken off the hook for his stupid “red line” threat. But Obama’s capitulation could have more far-reaching consequences, which I think helps to explain Assad’s and Putin’s jubilation. While I didn’t think we should bomb Syria on account of Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Syria’s future is uncertain, to say the least. We cannot rule out the possibility that in the future, events may be such that it would be prudent for the U.S. to play a role in the hostilities in one way or another. There was no good reason why Obama should give up that option, but in his agreement with Russia, he did so. As many have put it, he outsourced America’s Syria policy to Vladimir Putin. That was a horrible blunder, and we can only hope that events in Syria do not cause us to regret bitterly that Obama, through his own incompetence, has limited our future choices to, essentially, nothing.