Score one for the Assad Regime. What the Kerry ad lib reveals is a potential diplomatic approach–which, in the face of a military-only strategy, looks pretty good to a war weary U.S. public as well as the rest of the world. He played the US media and now appears to be gaining international legitimacy a la Qadaffi and Saddam.
In an effort to overcome Russian opposition, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry plans to travel to Geneva to meet on Thursday with Lavrov. American, British, and French diplomats, meanwhile, pressed ahead here at the United Nations with efforts to refine the French U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the Syrian government and placing Syria’s chemical weapons program “under international control” in preparation for their destruction.
If they succeed in gaining passage of their resolution, they will give the United Nations a new reason to do business with President Assad. The senior Arab diplomat said, “This all reminds me of Iraq, when Kofi Annan said he has a partner in Saddam Hussein,” who then spent years in a cat-and-mouse game with U.N. weapons inspectors. “Do we know we have a partner in Bashar al-Assad?”
Now the US takes a turn, and we could do worse than columnist Thomas Friedman observes–so how about “threaten to threaten“? It maintains leverage. It avoids a failure in Congress–which in turn keeps Russia and Syria moving forward. It may be the US’s only real leverage in a complex and trying conflict.
On the same page, caustic cum clever columnist Maureen Dowd explains the difference between Syria and Iraq:
Where the mindlessly certain W. adopted a fig leaf of diplomacy to use force in Iraq, the mindfully uncertain Obama is adopting a fig leaf of force to use diplomacy in Syria