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.

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

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

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

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

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kesmarn
Admin

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. 🙁

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Nirek
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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.

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kesmarn
Admin

Excellent point, Nirek. There’s manipulation and then there’s manipulation!

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empi
Member
empi

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.

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Nirek
Member

Empi, please forgive my ignorance, who are emoprogs?

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kesmarn
Admin

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.

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Nirek
Member

Thanks , Kes. I am a progressive but NOT an emoprog.

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choicelady
Member

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.

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Nirek
Member

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?

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empi
Member
empi

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.

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kesmarn
Admin

Oops, sorry empi! I see you had this covered already!

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