What Changed? The Long, Winding Path to a Diplomatic Solution

It may be spin or speculation but the path for Sec State Kerry’s offhand remark to full blown diplomatic solution was immediately apparent. Peter Maker and Michael Gordon writing int he NYT explain how in diplomacy, little happens by chance–whereas the notion had been broached between Kerry and Lavorov as early as a year ago.

Is this Obama being weak and indecisive or an opportunistic Russian maneuver or, even possibly a rare case of the textbook “win-win-win?”

Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor of the journal Russia in Global Affairs, says Russia saw an opportunity for a diplomatic triumph because the chemical weapons plan offered something for everyone.

“Americans can say that our pressure on Assad, and our threats, produced a result,” he says. “Russia can say that it prevented a war. Assad can say — or can feel — that he avoided the worst-case scenario. And in general, it looks like a very successful cooperation on the international level.”

Lukyanov says the next challenge will be whether Russia can get a U.N. Security Council resolution that authorizes the plan without allowing for military action if Syria fails to comply.

via Whats Driving Russias Tactical Change On Syria? : NPR.


4 thoughts on “What Changed? The Long, Winding Path to a Diplomatic Solution”

  1. I say it is too early too call the winners right now, but I for one am not very optimistic for the plan. One the hand, it makes perfect sense. Just take the weapons away. However, as pointed out in the article, it’s not as feasible as it sounds. Also (I’ll admit I’m biased) but the Russian government isn’t very trustworthy and they definitely would take a chance to look good at the United States detriment. Quite frankly, they needed some sort of significant threat to Assad, such as a military strike, in order for this plan to even have a chance of working and the United States provided that, which may or may not have been coordinated in advance. Really we just need to watch and see and hope that people realize that Russia has motives beyond peace.

  2. What is astounding to me is that it seems like that is exactly what is happening! It still looks like everyone may win. That never happens. So the question to me is: why might it work this time when it so rarely works? Granted, there are still numerous things up in the air: how to carry out a weapons removal in an area that is such a security threat, whether or not Syria will actually follow through, and if military action is still needed. Everyone knows that a threat by America is not really a joke given our military prowess, so that I am sure has been a driving point of much of the diplomacy. However, I am impressed by both Russia and America in making this agreement as both sides are frequently very unwilling to give on an issue and have so often been on opposing sides. It is a nice change to see the two countries attempting to work together for the greater international good. Will it last? Will Mr. Assad agree to the lesser evil for himself and give up the weapons? Who really knows, but since Russia is a major backer of the Syrian government and various other countries America is not incredibly friendly with, it is good to see some real diplomacy successfully at work.

  3. I disagree with the above comment. This is definitely not a win for the United States. When the President says there is a red line that cannot be crossed, that is something that needs to be backed up. This entire situation has been a complete debacle and embarrassment for the U.S. I definitely disagree with the statement above that “everyone knows that a threat by America is not really a joke.” It absolutely is a joke, as evidenced by the fact that AFTER the “red line” was drawn, they went ahead and did it anyways. And the consequences for Syria? Not even a slap on the wrist, just a “don’t do it again.” We were past that when we issued the red line ultimatum. This makes us look incredibly weak and will harm our national security in the future. And like the first poster mentioned, this makes Russia look good at our expense, despite Russia not really caring about peace.

  4. I agree that it does seem odd to not punish Syria for going against international agreements. What’s the point of having rules if there aren’t really any consequences. However, I don’t think it was the USA’s responsibility to give this punishment. It is so much better that we compromised with the international community instead of fighting within our own country, since Congress was not going to agree with Obama anyway. I’m not sure that showing that we are willing to solve problems in other ways that with a military will be a threat to national security in the future. The army is still there but we’ll save a lot of money not getting involved in another conflict and avoid future enemies since that’s usually what replacing governments with rebel forces usually gets us anyway. Staying out of it for the time being is a definite win.

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