It may have been the savior of an entire diplomatic and military mess created by President Barack Obama and his advisers engineered ironically by his arch rival, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Whether or not the gesture is genuine could take months to discern, but in the meantime rumors are flying that no matter what, Obama still plans to bomb Syrian facilities with the aid of French Mirage jets.
The Russians, who engineered the eleventh hour scheme to prevent military intervention derived from remarks to the Secretary of State marking a sudden reversal in the military stand-off that has lasted for weeks.
France stated it will draft a U.N. resolution at the Security Council requesting Syria give up its stockpiles of chemical weapons. They threatened “serious consequences” if Syria does not abide by the request."
The entire 24 hours of diplomatic maneuvering may have helped save face for the president who had literally painted himself in a corner with his “red line” remarks, confusing signals from the White House and State Department and the distinct possibility of making it that much harder for future presidents to lead as our primary war and decision-makers.
U.S. President Barack Obama called the new plans a “breakthrough,” which is an understatement for the consequences the path he was taking could have on the rest of his presidency and image as a world leader.
Within the last 24 hours, President Putin has become the “peacemaker” of the region which may be hard to swallow for the Western powers and many of the U.S.’s allies throughout the world.
From the Syrian rebels point of view, the planned air strikes were a demonstration that the government now believed the West had lost its nerve. The war has already killed more than 100,000 people and driven millions from their homes, and threatens to spread violence across the Middle East.
The rebels label the Russian proposal "a cheap trick to buy time for the regime to kill more and more people." The late arriving French officials said their draft resolution was “designed to make sure the Russian proposal would have teeth, by allowing military action if Assad is uncooperative.”
So, in essence, within the last 24 hours, Obama has been outdone and tossed from the world stage by both the Russians and the French.
The president has had quite a week in on-the-job training as a world diplomat and foreign affairs specialist. Many have breathed a sigh of relief knowing Obama was in a zone that appeared to be way over his head.
One French diplomatic source summed up the entire debacle saying "It was extremely well played by the Russians, but we didn't want someone else to go to the U.N. with a resolution that was weak. This is on our terms and the principles are established. It puts Russia in a situation where they can't take a step back after putting a step forward."
In actuality, the Russian proposal came from a misstatement of American policy by Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday although it was quickly dismissed in both Moscow and Washington later.
After 12 long years of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama would have an almost impossible job of convincing Congress to accept his proposals. The final straw in actuality for Obama was when Britain quit the coalition threatening force after Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote in parliament.
It didn’t help that Kerry, obviously speaking off the reservation said the only way to halt strikes would be for Assad to give up his chemical arsenal. The State Department said his remarks were rhetorical and not meant as a serious proposal. That opened the door hours later for Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to call for Assad's government to do just that.
A noticeably relieved Obama told CNN, "It's possible that we can get a breakthrough," although he said there was a risk that it was a further stalling tactic by Assad.
The wavering from the West has been a huge blow for the Syrian opposition. They thought they had finally secured military intervention after pleading for two and a half years for help from Western leaders that vocally opposed Assad.
The president and his speechwriters will now spend the day re-writing what could have been a disaster for all future presidents thanks to the inexperienced Barack Obama.
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