In what may well prove to be one of the greatest moves since the days of the great Russian chess masters, Vladimir Putin—through his foreign minister Sergey Larov—has presented both the Syrian and American governments with a way out of a military confrontation that almost nobody seems to want.
Speaking earlier today, Larov said,
“If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that country would allow avoiding strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus. We are calling on the Syrian leadership to not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on its subsequent destruction and fully joining the treaty on prohibition of chemical weapons.”
Nicely played, Mr. Putin. My hat goes off to you.
While the American government has spent the past week descending into political quicksand to the point where our reaction to the gassing of innocents in Damascus seems to have vanished as the central issue only to be replaced by the same old political nonsense that seem to control every single effort to legislate anything in today’s America, it appears that it is Mr. Putin who has managed to keep his head firmly on his shoulders in order to gain the high road on the world stage.
Indeed, while the administration finds themselves dragged further in a no-win scenario of the President’s own making, Putin has succeeded in taking advantage of the mess to create for himself a win-win opportunity.
Should Syria take Russia up on its proposal—a genuine possibility given the Assad government’s reliance on Putin’s support—the Russian President will have succeeded in defusing a situation that the U.S. government will have botched for all to see while likely winning for himself a Nobel Peace Prize in the process.
If Syria rejects Russia’s entreaties, Putin certainly cannot be blamed for fanning the flames of war having, at the least, put forward the very proposal that the Obama Administration should have offered up to the United Nations Security Council prior to venturing down the road to war.