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The offer by Russian President Putin to broker a deal that would have Syria turn over its chemical weapons stockpile to the United Nations has given President Obama hope of extricating himself from a mess he himself created.
President Obama’s declaration of an American “red line” regarding Syria’s use of chemical weapons and his incongruous decision to seek congressional approval for a military strike against the Syrians – something that now seems beyond reach in light of overwhelming popular opposition – triggered a dynamic that will probably undermine American foreign policy and hobble Mr. Obama in the final years of his second term.
On the international stage, it’s difficult to imagine anyone (think the mullahs in Iran) taking U.S. commitments or military threats seriously in the wake of the president’s bumbling performance these past couple of weeks.
Domestically, a congressional defeat of this magnitude would doubtless cause the president to be cast as the lamest kind of lame duck. That it would embolden his Republican critics in Congress is a foregone conclusion.
Plainly, the very viability of the Obama presidency has been placed at risk thanks to Mr. Obama’s inability to speak for the country on such a pivotal issue.
At this point, the White House would welcome anything that might obviate the need for U.S. military action against Syria. So while the threat of military action against Syria had always been premised on punishing President Assad for the actual use of chemical weapons, Mr. Kerry is now suggesting that Syria could avoid a military confrontation with the U.S. if it gave up its chemical weapons:
[Mr. Assad] could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay, and allow a full and total accounting for that.
Within hours of Mr. Kerry’s statement, Anthony J. Blinken, the deputy national security adviser, reiterated that “We would welcome a decision and action by Syria to give up its chemical weapons.”
As if on cue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chimed in: “If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in the country will prevent attacks, then we will immediately begin work with Damascus. And we call on the Syrian leadership to not only agree to setting the chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also to their subsequent destruction.”
In quick succession, Syria’s foreign minister said Syria would accept the proposal and both the UN secretary general and the British prime minister endorsed the idea. Of course, this plan would serve as an insurance policy of sorts for President Assad and militate against foreign support for the rebels challenging his regime. If he were to be the key player in a broad deal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, he could hardly be deemed expendable.
Russia, Mr. Assad’s ally and major arms supplier, probably can’t believe its good fortune.
One of the questions that immediately arises is what, if anything, Mr. Obama will have to do by way of reciprocation should a deal be struck. A possible answer may lie in news reports this week that Palestinian negotiators have taken to claiming that Secretary of State John Kerry “guaranteed us in writing” that peace talks would proceed on the basis of the presumptive legitimacy of the pre-June 1967 lines. While the U.S. believes the 1967 lines with “land swaps” should be the framework for negotiations, the administration has studiously maintained the public stance that there should be no preconditions to the resumption of talks. Indeed, State Department officials immediately denied the existence of the written guarantee claimed by the Palestinians.
Quid pro quo in the offing? Maybe not exactly. A new spirit of cooperation? Probably. In any case, we should be sensitive to any movement, however slight, on the part of the U.S. And, to borrow the post-9/11 public service motto, if we see something, we should say something.
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Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive
There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well
Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.
Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly
What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?
Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach
The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi
The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”
“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.
And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.
Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel
Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.
Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/does-putins-help-come-with-a-price/2013/09/11/
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