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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Let's Make a Deal

Posted by on Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 10:11 AM

I don't really care who gets the credit, or how it came about, but if Syria manages to avoid a US military strike by agreeing to hand over its chemical weapons to international control, can't we all agree that this is a good thing?

I mean, that would actually accomplish something positive, right? Prevent future use of these weapons. Whereas the type of strike we are contemplating—maybe a dozen or so cruise missiles—was never intended to be anything more than a symbolic gesture (that is, if you consider killing people to be mere symbolism).

And, everybody gets to claim victory! The Russians get to crow over a big diplomatic win, while the Obama administration gets to claim that it was only the threat of military intervention that forced the Syrian concession. And oh yeah. The Syrian people. The get neither blown up by us, nor gassed by their own government. Yay!

I suppose if your sole objective is retribution, then bummer. But otherwise, it looks like a great deal.


Comments (30) RSS

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Posted by Pol Pot on September 10, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
schmacky 2
It's amusing/troubling, however, that the whole thing came about only because Kerry talked out of his ass during a press conference.
Posted by schmacky on September 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
I'm sure the Sunni civilians that are torn to shreds by good old fashioned artillery will be greatly consoled to know they weren't killed by sarin gas.

"...everybody gets to claim victory!" except for the poor saps that will now be killed in an "International community norms" approved way. Yay for our totally effective diplomatic efforts!
Posted by Westside forever on September 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
Looking For a Better Read 4
I think only Israel will be disappointed.
Posted by Looking For a Better Read on September 10, 2013 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Goldy 5
@3 Well, if lobbying a dozen Tomahawks at Damascus would prevent that, you might have an argument.

@4 Oh yeah. I forgot about Israel. Never mind.
Posted by Goldy on September 10, 2013 at 10:44 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 6
Bonus: word was that House Repubs had been poised to extract shitty debt-reduction austerity bullshit in exchange for voting Obama's way. Now there's a chance Janet Yellen-ish voices may prevail on that future logjam.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on September 10, 2013 at 10:44 AM · Report this
I'm waiting to hear what Iran has to say about this.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on September 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM · Report this
@5 of course, because lobbing Tomahawks is all we can do now. We have no leverage with the Saudis that are financing the rebels, no influence with the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, et al. We fucked it up 10 years ago and Obama and Kerry continue to pile on with their stupid "red-line" and "incredibly small" rhetoric.

Show me a cease-fire, and then we can celebrate.
Posted by Westside forever on September 10, 2013 at 10:52 AM · Report this
AFinch 9
@4 has it - the Israelis will be very disappointed, as will AIPAC (as if there is any difference!).

I'll be relieved - I just don't buy the whole bit about comparing everything to Hitler and Anschluss where anything and everything we choose to ignore is just setting a precedent for something much worse and therefore we much continually escalate the eternal war against Eurasia our eternal enemy. I think we can ignore Syria and still take military action to contain Iran if we really have to.

The full-court press was all about the Israelis demonstrating that Big Brother still has their back.

@2 - yes, me too: I'd be a hell of a lot happier if it looked like this was part of some planful approach by Obama, rather than lucking out when everyone else backed away in a game of chicken. I do give him credit for forcing the isolationist/interventionist wedge a little deeper through the ranks of the GOP by taking this to the congress. The GOP was forced to engage in some actual governance. Those s***birds - the ones who couldn't fall all over themselves fast enough to go to war the past two cycles - suddenly (like they did with Bosnia) found themselves shoving flowers in the barrels of (their own) M16s.
Posted by AFinch on September 10, 2013 at 10:53 AM · Report this
Agreeing to hand over weapons is only potentially a good thing. Outsiders actually gaining control of all of the chemicals will be complicated. If it doesn't happen, the ensuing delay will only help Assad.

More important is that they seem to have agreed to join OPCW, which would include inspections stopping future production. This wouldn't become relevant until after the war, so from Obama's standpoint it's unverifiable.
Posted by Dakn on September 10, 2013 at 10:55 AM · Report this
Who gets to go in and safeguard/destroy a warehouse full of chemical munitions in the middle of a civil war? Just wondering.
Posted by Toe Tag on September 10, 2013 at 11:01 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 12
I was surprised by this development, but I agree with Goldy's view. We get to avoid military action that nobody wants. Russia looks like a peace broker rather than a stooge. Obama gets to look like a tough guy for making Syria back down. The goal of forcing al-Assad to stop using chemical weapons is achieved. Everybody wins!

Here's hoping it works.

There really is no good solution to the civil war in Syria. But this seems like the least bad option right now.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on September 10, 2013 at 11:06 AM · Report this
There is a response to botheads like Goldy, and here it is.

Help kickstart World War III, support your president mindlessly in everything he, and dipshit, Biden, want!…
Posted by sgt_doom on September 10, 2013 at 11:06 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 14
The devil will be in the details, but assuming that the chemical weapons really are handed over to really international control (not the Russians), and our entrance into that deep pit of quicksand is avoided, then yes, it's a good thing. But I'm only going to believe it when it happens.

OTOH, if it shuts various self-styled radicals on SLOG up, I'm going to be ecstatic about that right away.
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 10, 2013 at 11:07 AM · Report this
Yo yo, Goldstein, you want to quit repeating the Wall Street line that the Assad government is responsible until the bloody proof is ever actually offered, nimrod?

Even CNN reported accurately that the Obama administration has yet to offer any proof of their assertions!
Posted by sgt_doom on September 10, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 16

There's a difference. AIPAC is far, far worse.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Imagine what we could get done if we just threatened to nuke anyone who did anything wrong; the logical conclusion of Goldy's foriegn policy gambit, if he was ever in the position to put his finger on the button. Just think what it would do for getting an NBA team in Seattle..
Posted by hmmmmm on September 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 18
16, lol, how true. AIPAC takes all the crazy & fanatic from Israel and condenses it into a small bundle.

The other "bonus" from this deal, implied at the end, is that anyone who *does* crow about it will make themselves into a monumental douche. I'm not talking about random internet comments, but real organizations with real influence on international policy. like the aforementioned DC lobbying group.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on September 10, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Report this
rob! 19
@2 & 9, the State Dept. had been talking to the Russians before Kerry's London press conference.

Also, note that Russia suddenly conceded that the Syrian government had chemical weapons after denying it for weeks, making Putin look like an even bigger weasel on the world stage.
Posted by rob! on September 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
"while the Obama administration gets to claim that it was only the threat of military intervention that forced the Syrian concession."

fuck yeah man. It WAS the threat that produced this new position on the part of Syria and dude, seems like the threat of force is sometimes just, useful, proper, and wise, no?

contrary to the isolationist or "all war is bad!" points of view on the right, and the left.

Posted by obama gets full credit on September 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM · Report this
AFinch 21
@16 - no argument! You are quite right. Likud/Shas is only one part of Israeli society, but 100% of AIPAC. @18 - I very much hope you are right...I'll be checking Krauthammer and Jennifer Rubin at the WaPo to see what their line is. I'm going to predict that this is spun as Obama being saved from his own weakness and he should've just beaten the drums louder, sooner.

@19 - I'm sure they've been working behind the scenes for quite a while - that was evident in discussions leading up to the G20 - and I'm guessing that in some part, perhaps Obama was there rather than here (lobbying Congress) just in case he and Putin needed to chat.
Posted by AFinch on September 10, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Goldy 22
@15 Where in this post do I assert that the Assad government is responsible for the chemical weapons attack? Responsibility is irrelevant. The issue at hand is how to avoid a US military strike.
Posted by Goldy on September 10, 2013 at 12:14 PM · Report this

You wanna a good laugh? You've got to read the Norman Podhoretz (yeah the guy than penned "Why are Jews Liberal?") piece in the WSJ where he claims the Arab Spring is all some massive super-secret Obama Socialist Muslim conspiratorial long game to trick congress into limiting executive authority. I kid you not.

See the inscrutable Obama is a thousands steps ahead and in cahoots with the Syrian Jihadis, he's using our own democratic system (via the war powers act) giving back congress it's constitutional authority, thus weakening our ability to project military power.

See, according to Podhoertz this some how creates a tyrannical executive by LIMITING his use-of-force powers... 'cause we'd never expect that... and... er... you get it.

It's Moon-Nazi crazy.

And Obama would've gotten away with it too. If it wasn't for those pesky meddling kids at the WSJ.
Posted by tkc on September 10, 2013 at 1:14 PM · Report this
sirkowski 24
I care. I credit Obama.
Posted by sirkowski on September 10, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
delirian 25
I'm glad that Obama was patient on this and decided to send the war vote to Congress. This is what gave the time for this type of breakthrough to occur. If he would have bombed a week ago, there would be thousands dead with the potential of Iran or Russia intervening on the side of the Syrian government or the Syrian government gassing more people to try to draw the US in or show that the US had no power. We now have an escape plan. We don't have to go to war and be drawn into another quagmire.

What really surprised me in the last week, though, was how Colin Powel-esque that John Kerry went. John Kerry was a good Senator, but I'm a little afraid of having him as the Secretary of State.
Posted by delirian on September 10, 2013 at 1:36 PM · Report this
It's a win win for everyone except Repubs. They're butt sore that President Obama worked out another international crisis in a non-Iraq war way.
Posted by Patricia Kayden on September 10, 2013 at 1:40 PM · Report this
delirian 27
@26: Not true. Even most Republicans don't want a new war right now (not under the leadership of a Democrat). This war was almost universally opposed except by neo-cons like John McCain and ultra-loyalists like Nancy Pelosi. A lot of Republicans are actually cheering this on because they think it shows Putin snubbing Obama. They are right about opposing this war but so fucked up with their reasoning. But, whatever man. Fuck 'em.

I do not think Obama was bluffing with this and that scared me. But if he was, then he is a genius. Still in any case, NO WAR!
Posted by delirian on September 10, 2013 at 1:50 PM · Report this
@22, Goldstein:

".. nor gassed by their own government."…
Posted by sgt_doom on September 10, 2013 at 2:18 PM · Report this
The only reason that scumbag Obama and his scumbag handlers are all of a sudden so interested in diplomacy is because his administration was humiliated by the backlash from a public that is sick and fucking tired of useless wars in the Middle East.

These war mongers might have had more luck by simply telling the truth. That the west is desperate to break up and destabilize the Syrian government before the construction of an Iranian pipeline gets underway that would deliver oil and gas to Europe by bypassing Turkey and going straight through Syria to do it.
Posted by Spindles on September 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM · Report this
And somehow you're naïve enough to believe that ol' Bashar is going to even tell you where he's stocked all his chemical weapons? And why is everyone all up in arms about these chemical weapons deaths of 1,400 or so people but they don't give a shit that over 100,000 people have died from good old fashioned regular war shit. It's not that I don't care about the people who were killed by a chemical weapons incident it's that people don't give a shit about the more than 100,000 others that have died from other causes.
Posted by Weekilter on September 10, 2013 at 10:58 PM · Report this

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