Dear Gideon. What a beautiful Kremlin charade.
Poor Obama will lap this up like a thirsty cat, he has no other option. The Kremlin by embracing and extending upon Kerry’s words gave him a way out of defeat in Congress. Internationally it’ll be a defeat but at least it’ll buy Obama a few more weeks or months and he can spin it nationally as a win. That’s all that matters in this President’s foreign policy. Weeks and months of hassle it will be as Russia and its allies will prepare to drag Obama deeper in their Orwellian web. Lavrov can taste it already, they will milk this for all its worth.
How large is Assad’s stockpile of chemical weapons? Nobody knows. How can they be secured and inspected effectively in a civil war situation? Nobody knows. How about those munitions that have been passed down the chain of command already? What about his biological weapons? How will Assad’s compliance be anywhere near meaningful? It depends on the words and actions of a regime that is notoriously undependable in this regard and which relies on B&C weapons as a deterrent both internally and versus its regional opponents. Think about it: the number of chemical weapons that Assad has will be a point of opinion and negotiation in the UNSC.
Of course Assad will retain a meaningful WMD cache and with the situation fluid as it is, will retain ability to use it even within this civil war. Next time it’ll be even easier to blame someone else since he supposedly doesn’t have any. And on the geostrategic level everyone is aware of it already, but somehow populist opinion now counts on what the west can and cannot do.
Extending a hand to Obama in this fashion is a significant victory to the Kremlin. “Putin insists US drop threat of force” is the latest headline; they’ll bleed it until its dry; lets just see how far they can drag Obama along kicking and screaming but outwardly smiling. This is an offer Obama can’t refuse.
He’s been had.