If we give Obama the benefit of the doubt, he and Putin worked this out on the sly at the G-20 summit.
If not, Kerry is just a frigging blowhard idiot who made policy up on the run.
Either our national leadership is comprised of some cagey guys who figured out a way to back off from an unpopular and unwise position, or we got absolutely pantsed by Putin and Assad.
Either way, we win.
And by that I mean, we don’t go to war in Syria.
Here’s the background.
In an earlier demonstration of freelanced policy, Obama told some reporters that if Assad used chemical weapons, it would be “a red line.”
Not “a line in the sand,” that would be too Bush. Clearly, “a red line” is very different from “a line in the sand.”
Either way, the guy in Syria crossed it.
Some people got gassed. There were lots of TV cameras conveniently around. Syria got blamed. Obama said we had to go to war.
The rest of the world told him he was nuts. The American people shouted for him to stand down. But he wouldn’t. He’s in it to win it. And he’s serious.
So serious that we get to hear him on national television tonight.
Anyway, we were all sitting around scared crapless that the Kenyan-in-chief was going to start Armageddon and that our cousin in the Army was going to have to deploy soon to his third worthless Muslim hellhole.
And then Kerry said something about a week.
Either by design – that’s if they’re cagey – or by accident – that’s if they’re idiots – Kerry said that if Assad turned in all his chemical weapons in a week, we wouldn’t blow him to Muslim hell.
No sooner had the national security team asked itself, “What did he just say?” than Putin was announcing that the Kerry suggestion was a fine idea and that Russia supported it completely. He said, in fact, that he would use his influence to get Syria to go along with it.
And almost immediately thereafter Assad popped up and said that was an outstanding idea, that he would love to turn his weapons in and have this whole thing be done.
Now, at that point, back at the White House, they were either congratulating themselves for crafting this fine conclusion to a needless confrontation, or they were crapping their pants at seeing their entire kill-Assad strategy crap the bed.
Personally, I hope our president was really smart, as opposed to really dumb.
But, like I said, either way, we win.
Either way, Obama doesn’t get to march us into the Syrian swamp.
Because now there won’t be an attack. There can’t be an attack. Russia and Syria will comply, sort of, kind of, and we will have no grounds.
Not that we really had any grounds anyway, but this way, we have nothing at all. And we will look like we are going back on our word if we attack.
So I’m not sure what the president will talk about tonight. Instead of telling us we’re racists for not supporting his Syria policy, or accusing the evil Republicans of being obstructionists, he’ll hopefully tell us about a pathway out of cruise-missile launch mode. He intended tonight to lead us to war, hopefully he’ll instead lead us to peace.
If he helped author this escape route, good, he earned his pay in a clever way. If he got outsmarted by an old KGB guy, I’m sure that’s hard on his ego.
But sometimes leadership is turning broken eggs into an omelet. And even if we got played yesterday by the Russians and the Syrians, he can turn this to our advantage. Obama doesn’t get to count coup, but he does avoid the humiliation of having the Congress and the American people take away his keys to the B52s.
It would be wrong to attack Syria.
Everyone in America who doesn’t live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue already knows that.
Now the president can learn.
And he can back himself away from the cliff.
Maybe Putin and Obama worked it out beforehand. Maybe Kerry got mouthy and opened a door for Putin. Maybe Kerry sabotaged his owns president’s war plans.
Or maybe we just got lucky.