Faced with faltering domestic and international support for military action in Syria, but fearing a loss of credibility, the U.S. has agreed to let diplomacy fail for a little longer.
A new Russian-sponsored plan calls for the Assad regime to relinquish control of a massive and secretive chemical weapons stockpile painstakingly accumulated over decades, in order to avoid U.S. military strikes.
“In the interest of peace, we would be happy to transfer all the chemical weapons to our friends in Russia – not that we have any or have used them at any time,” said Syria’s Foreign Minister Wallid Muallem, over the sound of artillery leveling another Damascus suburb.
The diplomatic breakthrough with Russia and Syria came right in the nick of time – just as Congress was preparing to vote against initializing a potentially disastrous regional war in the Middle East by attacking Syria. A vote that, unfortunately, may also be read as a reluctant acceptance of Assad and others using chemical weapons as a casual means of domestic population control.
“We hope that this plan will allow the Syrian regime, as well as the United States, a little time to sit back and relax before deciding on a course of action that will inevitably change the dynamics of the Middle East for the worst,” said Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergay Lavrov in a statement.
In his national address Tuesday night, Obama postponed the Congressional vote, readily giving the Russian-sponsored plan enough time to fail on its own.
“If Putin, in all his unbiased moral superiority, wants to write an Op-Ed in the New York Times and take the lead on fixing Syria, that’s fine by me,” Obama told the nation. “What do I have to lose?”