• RSS
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
AdLib On September - 10 - 2013

Putin-y-Al-Assad

Russia has presented a brokered deal to the U.S. in which Syria would agree to turn over its chemical weapons to international control. Is this proposal legit or is it a cynical stalling tactic by Syria and Russia? It is a balance between fear and manipulation for Syria and Russia so it it difficult to know just how earnest either of them are on this.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has been panicking since Pres. Obama announced his desire to take military action in retaliation for Assad’s use of chemical weapons on his own citizens. This week, Assad appeared in an interview with Charlie Rose where he cloaked his desperation with a calm demeanor but the very fact that he stampeded to do an interview on U.S. tv undercut that veneer of cool. He rattled off many reasons Americans should trust him and not trust their government (“Just because I’m a mass murderer, it doesn’t mean I’m a liar.”) and followed the Middle East Tyrant tradition of blathering inflated threats (“If the U.S. attacks us, it will be the Mother of all Wars…huh? Did someone else already copyright that?”).

Assad is scared, he knows that a U.S. bombing campaign could destroy his most important military sites, not to mention an “accidental” stray bomb killing him. However, he also is maniacally bent on crushing his opposition and re-taking full dictatorial control of Syria. So what’s a terrified, power-mad tyrant to do?

He needs to avoid being attacked but he also needs to beat the rebels. One can only imagine the intense discussions between Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin as to how to touch both bases. That is why Pres. Obama’s skepticism about this alleged deal is well placed.

WHY THIS DEAL MIGHT BE A FRAUD

Assad needs to stop the U.S. military threat immediately so agreeing to this deal could accomplish that but he is well aware that agreeing to do something and doing it are two very different things. There is no time frame whatsoever in this agreement so it isn’t enforceable. Assad could know right now that he will never fully comply, he could just drag his feet with a series of excuses for delaying or he could only hand over some of his chemical weapons while stashing others. Then, if another chemical attack occurs, he could claim innocence, saying that they were all given up and he had no more to use. By the time the U.S. gets fed up with Assad’s non-compliance on the agreement, Assad could hope to have already defeated the bulk of the rebels and would be in a better position to weather a limited U.S. strike…using that for propaganda purposes that could aid Iran in subsequent hostilities.

WHY THIS DEAL MIGHT COME TO FRUITION

The U.S. Senate is already discussing a bill requiring Syria to turn over its chemical weapons within a specified period of time and if it doesn’t do so, military strikes would occur. Whether or not such a bill passes, Assad and Putin have to know that if Syria doesn’t comply, the U.S. would turn back to launching military strikes which could cripple Assad and if he goes and the rebels take over, Russia loses an ally and instead has an adversary in Syria. Russia makes a “killing” in selling weapons to Syria which is its greatest ally in the region. Russia has been a staunch protector of Syria, sabotaging the U.N. and any and all efforts at peacefully ending the bloody civil war there. Russia could see this as the better of two evils (though it could be argued that Assad and Putin are the two evils). Also, Putin and Assad both know that Assad has overwhelming military equipment that could fill in for any chemical weapons he lost, the mass murder could continue just as successfully without chemical weapons being used. If signing onto this agreement stops a U.S. attack AND allows Assad to continue his  mass murdering, it’s a win-win for him.

It’s a bit disgusting to see Republicans fawning all over Putin for presenting this deal while dissing Obama as a failure. First of all, Putin is an evil, murdering tyrant as Assad is…oh…that’s why Republicans like him…that and he’s white. Rand Paul is on record praising Assad because his mass murders are against the rebels, some of whom might do something horrible like commit mass murders against Christians.

Second, does anyone think that if Obama had reacted to the chemical attack by saying, “It’s a tragedy but there’s nothing we can do,” that Assad would voluntarily offer to get rid of his chemical weapons.

If there is a deal, it is happening solely because of Obama’s threat of a military attack. This is how you play the game of chess, seeing the whole board and thinking many moves ahead. Obama’s insistence on an attack, refusing to say he would give up the possibility even if Congress voted it down, was all part of this strategy to put great pressure on Assad to crack. And to a degree at least, it seems to have worked. While the MSM pudnuts did their concern-troll act, worrying about how a rejection of Obama’s resolution or Obama going it alone on an attack would cripple his Presidency or even lead to impeachment, the grown ups were playing a much more serious game with the Syrians.

The down side though is that threats are no good unless you’re willing to follow through on them so this could all turn around on Obama if he does use military force in Syria.

Time will tell on this, if the Syrians sign on to a formal agreement, if the U.S. Congress puts some teeth behind a resolution authorizing an attack if Syria reneges on the agreement or refuses to sign on to it or if the countries around the world step up to act against Syria for using chemical weapons.

In any case, at this point, it appears that Pres. Obama may once again have arrived at a rare and desireable outcome in a dangerous and complicated crisis…and once again, he will be given no credit for it by the tyrant-lovers on the Right.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

20 Responses so far.

Click here to leave a comment
  1. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    Any thoughts about doing a live chat tonight here at the Planet?

  2. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    I give Obama a good deal of credit for steering this process in working out the broad strokes of a negotiated settlement.

    • AdLib says:

      The old Teddy Roosevelt motto comes to mind, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

      Obama has plenty in common with old school Republicans like Teddy and Lincoln. Modern day Repubs have more in common with anarchists than any political party.

  3. kesmarn says:

    Well said, AdLib. I’m looking forward to the President’s address tonight.

    In a way, I think brutes like Assad and Putin “get” President Obama, which is why they’re fearful of him. They know he doesn’t lie and he doesn’t bluff. They get him more than the GOP and the “pudnuts” here do. (Even though, in other ways, they’re all so much alike.)

    Our own wacky RWers seem to believe that the President is no different from them. A liar. A manipulator. A person who wants to grab the spotlight. A person who can be bought. An angry person who would be a tyrant if he could.

    I think that’s why they’re so genuinely baffled by him. Not being able to put themselves — ever — in another’s shoes, they don’t understand that he was genuinely disturbed by those images of dying women and children. (Just as the massacre at Sandy Hook moved him to tears and to a passion to seriously address the gun problem in this country.) This president actually likes women and children. And respects them.

    I sense that Assad and Putin know that, on some non-verbal, intuitive level. That’s why they’re willing to negotiate. Will they try to weasel out of whatever deal evolves? It’s hard to say. But at least now the whole world is watching. It’s going to be a little harder for either one of them to “play clueless” after this.

    This feels very much like the Cuban missile crisis. Not in terms of the scope of the threat to the U.S., but in the way it has been handled by the President.

    The major difference being that Kennedy didn’t have a whole claque of enemies and alleged friends in Congress trying to sabotage him while he handled it. :-(

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, first of all, hope you can join us here tonight for the live chat during Pres. Obama’s speech.

      You’re right, the Repubs are completely bewildered by Obama because he is logical, compassionate and principled, three traits that are alien to them. S when they attack him, they use the only insults they understand, that is, they project all of their failings such as cowardice, dishonesty and incompetence on him. They have all committed to the 24/7/365 game of attacking and insulting Obama no matter what he does, from killing Bin Laden to rescuing the economy, no matter how good the results are from Obama’s actions, they (and the EmoProgs) must always try to twist it into something negative about Obama.

      They simultaneously call him weak and a dictator, how could any rational person say both of those things simultaneously? Of course, that’s the thing, they are anything but rational.

      And in the end, who is most like Assad? Who shows no concern for the suffering of their own people while they pursue selfish gains? Who lies shamelessly to the public and claims victimhood while assaulting those they see as adversaries? Who openly despises democracy and the right of all citizens to have equal rights? Who accuses those they attack of being guilty of what they themselves perpetrate?

      If you generically describe Assad, you have the central themes for the RNC platform.

    • Nirek says:

      Kes, I think that the President has manipulated the GOP into voting against military action. They would vote against a tax cut if he wanted it. So when he wants to use the military he knows the Democrats are skeptical and many will vote no. He also knows the Republicans will vote no because he wants it.

      Masterful and brilliant!

      The difference between the GOP and the President is in the reason for manipulating. They manipulate for their own advancement. President Obama has manipulated the GOP for the good of America.

  4. empi says:

    And don’t forget not being given credit by the firebaggers and emoprogs. Once again, I am reminded how much I love this president and what a brilliant man he is.

    • Nirek says:

      Empi, please forgive my ignorance, who are emoprogs?

      • kesmarn says:

        If I may jump in here, Nirek, I found a pretty good definition in the “Urban Dictionary”:

        Emo Progressive (or “emoprog”) is a self-described liberal or progressive, often with libertarian leanings, whose political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation at any given time, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly or forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents.

        Emoprogs are ideological purists who disdain compromise and incremental change, which they see as “selling out” liberal ideas like full employment, an end to all wars, state secrets, and liberal social policy.

        Emoprogs dislike Republicans but reserve their greatest disdain for Democratic presidents, whom they relentlessly attack for not meeting a set of ideological goal posts that are constantly adjusted to ensure that the president will be deemed a disappointment, “not progressive enough” or “just like a Republican” no matter what policy achievements are made.

        Emoprogs routinely dismiss or ignore congress’ role in making or impeding policy, believing presidents can simply “use the bully pulpit” and “fight” in order to overcome constitutional or legislative obstacles.

    • AdLib says:

      Hey empi!

      So true, the emoprogs have been in a state of hateful euphoria over this, finally having Obama supporting something that the majority of Americans oppose, it’s a dream come true for them. So they rail about how awful Obama is and feel like at least for a few weeks, they’re not alone.

      Who should we respect more, a President who lies the public into wars, is too fearful to confront mass murdering tyrants around the world or one who uses the threat of force as a tool to bring about a peaceful but meaningful solution?

      What President in recent memory could be handling this better than Obama? I don’t think any of them.

      • empi says:

        They are so pathetic and so predictable. I expect the b/s from the RWNJs but from the fire baggers not so much. Hoping for Obama to fail!!! Can you believe it?

        BTW, how is Quark? Tell him hello for me.

        Thanks ad-lib

  5. choicelady says:

    As I noted last week, it has been my belief that the evidence -- Kerry and Clinton in negotiations with the Russians for over a year on this very issue of directing chem weapons to international control -- was the real concern. The threat is just that -- a motivator. The president did or said something to Putin, we do not know what, at the G-20 summit that pushed Putin to finally agree to return to the international group and participate.

    It matters not to this president WHO gets the “credit” for this alternative. It is and has been the desired outcome to stop the use of chemical weapons and the resulting genocide. It matters only that this agreement -- to which the Syrian Foreign Minister appears to have fully agreed -- is finalized.

    Watching this over the long haul, it is clear that diplomacy, not military strikes, have been the desired process. Moving the military intervention to Congress would have freed the president to keep on pursuing diplomacy since the NO vote is the likely outcome. That gets the hawks off his back, and lets him proceed as he prefers. That it happened BEFORE the Congressional vote is even better.

    Now we will watch the international community for clear evidence they are engaged in assuring that Putin does as he has said, Assad will do as he has at least initially agreed. The outcome is what matters -- getting Syrian to relinquish chemical weapons and to do so via diplomatic means. A success never mind who gets credit.

    • AdLib says:

      CL -- You’re so right, the credit for saving lives is trivial compared to the saving of lives. And the focus on getting credit is an egotistical venture which is not a familiar trait of Obama’s so while there may be some words here or there, I don’t expect him to vie for getting credit for this.

      But we all know, neither Russia nor Syria would even be talking about such a deal if Obama was not threatening a military strike so in the end, isn’t it clear who is really responsible for this and who is acting purely out of fear and greed?

      On MSNBC, their pundits keep spinning this as a Putin Party, that he is going to get all the credit and should. Why are they pushing such a dishonest or ignorant meme? I don’t know. Because the legit opportunities to hammer on Obama have been so few they dive at one that can look legit? Maybe.

      One would have to be totally clueless about world politics not to know that Obama has been discussing ways to stop the massacres in Syria for a long time and such an obvious proposal would have been discussed previously.

      So for sitting on this proposal for a year and allowing thousands to be murdered in the interim by chemical weapons in Syria, Russia is a hero?

      In any case, you’re right, there is only a diplomatic solution in the Syrian civil war and perhaps this can be the first step of a path there so despite Putin seeing this as good for him because it can both protect Assad from retribution and stick a big finger in America’s eye, eliminating chemical weapons in that war and hopefully winding down the war are far more important than all of the political conflicts surrounding that.

  6. Nirek says:

    Ad, once again you prove to be a better wordsmith than I am. Great point that he (President) will get zero credit. However I think he has been masterful in manipulating the GOP which he knew would vote no on anything he wants. (If the POTUS asked for a tax cut for the rich, the GOP would vote against it) By bringing this to the congress he has put them in the position of having to vote no on a military strike, BRILLIANT , huh?

    • empi says:

      Hi Nirek

      Definition of an emoprog

      Emo Progressive

      The Original Definition, reprinted from Urban Dictionary

      Emo Progressive (or “emoprog”) is a self-described liberal or progressive, often with strong libertarian leanings, whose primary political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation at any given time, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly enough or articulated forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents.

      Emoprogs are ideological purists who disdain compromise and incremental change, which they see as “selling out” classical liberal ideas like full employment, an end to all wars, state secrets, and liberal social policy.

      Emoprogs dislike Republicans but reserve their greatest disdain for Democratic presidents, whom they relentlessly attack for not meeting a set of ideological goal posts that are constantly adjusted to ensure that the president will be deemed a disappointment, “not progressive enough” or “just like a Republican” no matter what policy achievements are made.

      Emoprogs routinely dismiss or ignore congress’ role in making or impeding policy, believing presidents can simply “use the bully pulpit” and “fight” in order to overcome constitutional or legislative obstacles.

      Emoprogs have a strong affinity for third party politics as a way to punish Democratic presidents. They are especially hostile to President Barack Obama and deem anyone who expresses a lack of ill will toward him to be “Obamabots” and enemies of liberalism.

      Example1: After Eric Holder announced congress had blocked the Justice Department from trying 9/11 mastermind KSM in civilian court, social networks lit up with emo progressives complaining that President Obama had broken his campaign promise to end military tribunals. Their criticism did not mention congressional Democrats who helped block Holder.

      Example2: Emoprogs dismissed healthcare reform as a failure, saying President Obama should have used the bully pulpit to achieve a single payer system, despite the fact that Sen. Harry Reid made it clear that such a plan could not pass the Senate.

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks Nirek!

      I do think that was his most important and successful decision so far, going to Congress for a vote on a military strike on Syria. Had he not done so and just attacked Syria, it would have been madness here politically and who knows what would have happened in the ME.

      It has been reported that there were those in Obama’s Admin, including Susan Rice, who believe that a strike is necessary so I’m not ready to say that Obama wasn’t leaning towards that position.

      But because, for once, we have a President with critical thinking skills, he can take in new info and developments and change his strategy.


Leave your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Back to top
PlanetPOV Tweets
Ongoing Stories
Features