Considering that the blunders in Western Diplomatic History encompass all this and World War II, that’s saying a lot, but former British diplomat Charles Crawford isn’t far from the mark when he explores “Syria, chemical weapons, and the worst day in Western diplomatic history” in the London Telegraph:
Monday 9 September, 2013, was the worst day for US and wider Western diplomacy since records began.
At the Foreign Office here in London we had the bizarre spectacle of US Secretary of State John Kerry giving a businesslike account of diplomatic incentives:
If one party believes that it can rub out countless numbers of his own citizens with impunity using chemicals that have been banned for nearly 100 years because of what Europe learned in World War I, if he can do that with impunity, he will never come to a negotiating table … If you don’t draw those lines, and the civilized world is not prepared to enforce those lines, you are giving complete license to people to do whatever they want
However, almost in the same breath John Kerry blew up the logic of his own position by assuring a bemused world that any bombing by the United States would be “unbelievably small”.
During his presentation he also made a mock-sarcastic suggestion in response to a question about how Assad might stop an attack:
He 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. But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.
This prompted a speedy response from Moscow suggesting that Russia would work with Syria on a programme to abandon its chemical weapons. And this in turn was seized on by President Obama as a way out of his looming disaster in winning Congressional approval to respond with military force to the use of CW in Syria.
Think about what will happen if the Russian initiative starts to fly.
Read the whole thing. Yesterday, while Putin was doing an end-run around John Kerry to cut a deal with Syria, Senatorial Super Genius Harry Reid was going Full Metal Godwin, and describing Syria’s use of chemical weapons as the second coming of the Holocaust.
Which presumably makes Russia’s deal with Syria as the second coming of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact?
(Which the American left was pretty cool with initially the first time around as well.)
Today Ed Morrissey jokingly compares Obama’s climbdown and willingness to debate Putin’s plan in the UN — after the president trashed the UN late last week — to Munich:
One or two commenters seem a little lost on my sarcasm over the Munich comments. I’ve argued all along that the Syria crisis is no Munich, and that the claims from Kerry and the Obama administration that it’s analogous to 1938 were historically ignorant and hyperbolic. However, if they really believed it, then walking away with a rather dubious and practically unenforceable agreement as a resolution is almost a perfect repetition of it. (Don’t forget that Hitler ally Benito Mussolini was the guarantor of the Munich agreement, paralleling Putin’s role here.) It’s just missing Neville Chamberlain’s umbrella.
POTUS deploys Marines for rain in Rose Garden with Turkish PM Erdogan. twitter.com/MajorCBS/statu…
— Major Garrett(@MajorCBS) May 16, 2013
By the way, the Russians aren’t too thrilled with America going through the UN on this. Or as Bryan Preston writes at the PJ Tatler, “Russia Backing Away from Fake Syria Weapons Deal:”
Russia is not keen at this stage for a binding U.N. Security Council resolution that would provide a framework to control Syria’s chemical weapons’ stocks, France’s foreign minister said after talks with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday.
“As I understood, the Russians at this stage were not necessarily enthusiastic, and I’m using euphemism, to put all that into the framework of a U.N. binding resolution,” Laurent Fabius told French lawmakers after a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Obama is being played. The Russian deal forced him to change course and re-write tonight’s speech at the last minute. Now he has to re-write it again, or pretend that the Russians didn’t just drop a flaming bag of something on the White House doorstep. It will be grimly amusing to see what Obama tells the American people about all this now. The words “fiasco” and “clusterf*ck” have been said by others today. He won’t use either word, but that doesn’t mean both don’t apply.
Harry Reid pretended that the Russia deal drove him to halt a vote on force in the Senate. The reality is that Democrat votes for force were “dropping like flies,” and the prospect of passage in the House was always grim. Obama lost the Congressional Black Caucus today. Sen. Mitch McConnell came out against bombing today, breaking with the House GOP leaders who had supported it, and probably killing off any chance that the Senate would help Obama out by at least giving him a split vote in Congress. The likelihood now is that he gets rejected by both houses with actual “No” votes or implicitly if neither brings the authorization to a vote, and then has to decide if he wants to strike Syria anyway. Does Barry feel lucky?
So Obama is being played by Putin. The question is, does he know or even care that he’s being played? He seemed happy enough to grab Putin’s hand and get out of his jam. Now what’s he going to do? Putin is saying that there will be no quick fix, and that he intends to keep on using the UN to mess around with Obama, promise him a prize, then take it away, over and over again. Playing the part of Lucy, Vlad Putin. Playing the part of Charlie Brown trying to kick a football, Barack Obama. For a while to come.
Actually, I doubt Mr. Obama minds at all.
In the meantime, with an American airstrike apparently called off — at least for now — “Syria Resumes Airstrikes Against Rebels,” John Nolte writes at Big Peace.
No word yet if Obama fundraiser Anna Wintour has resumed lunching with Asma al-Assad as well.
Oh, since we’re talking pro-totalitarian leftists and aesthetics, while yesterday may or may not have been “The Worst Day in Western Diplomatic History,” the photograph atop Ambassador Crawford’s London Telegraph article is conclusive proof that it was certainly the Worst Day in Western Cosmetic Surgery. At least judging by the amount of botox in John Kerry’s face, his Jay Leno-esque chin implant, and that he’s apparently had Newt Gingrich’s hair transplanted onto his scalp.
But then, old Winter Soldiers never die, their skin just fades away under more and more chemical peels.
Related: “So, this is the quality of thinking that comes from those who belong(ed) to the JournoList,” Bryan adds:
I can’t believe the White House’s strategy on Syria is working out this well. I doubt they can, either.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 10, 2013
As our friendly neighborhood Vodkapundit tweets, “Dude, knock it off. I’m supposed to be the funny drunk.”