My, my, my.....well Neo Cons and Neo Libs. Read it and Breathe Deep. Looks like on this issue.....Obama is really backing up the First Team. As unfortunate as it is. Putin.....the Bully Kid that Obama said was sitting in the back of the class showed Obama why he was just visiting.
"We've kind of hit a wall," President Barack Obama commented last week on his way to Russia. He meant his relationship with Moscow, but the remark came to apply as well to other leaders abroad, lawmakers at home and Americans at large, all standing in the way of what he wanted to do about Syria, which was to attack it.
Just days later, military action is on hold, a diplomatic effort to have Syria turn over its chemical weapons has some steam and Obama no longer looks so terribly alone. The potential way out took shape with an episode akin to palace intrigue: Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin pulling up chairs in a corner of a stately room at the summer home of Peter the Great, after a very late night of fireworks and lasers etching the St. Petersburg sky. And it grew from there.
It's all been enough to stir some gushing admiration in the halls of Congress for a clever president who knows how to conduct statesmanship when the pressure's really on. The president of Russia, that is.
A look at how the past days' parallel tracks — pushing for approval of a military attack while pausing to give diplomacy a chance — unfolded:
With plenty of U.S.-Russian tensions simmering — over Syria, Moscow's sheltering of former NSA leaker Edward Snowden and more — Obama decided there would be no formal one-on-one with Putin. But the Russian leader, the Syrian government's leading patron on the world stage, approached him Friday and they pulled chairs together off to the side.
Flanked only by interpreters, with other leaders looking on, they launched into a 20-minute discussion about Syria. There was no breakthrough on one vexing aspect of their disagreement — the future of Syrian President Bashar Assad. However, Putin broached an idea that the two leaders had first discussed a year ago at the G-20 summit in Mexico — an international agreement to secure Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles.
Obama agreed that could be an area for cooperation and suggested Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov follow up. You wouldn't know it from Obama's public mood that day, but seeds had been planted.
"I cannot look at those pictures — those little children laying on the ground, their eyes glassy, their bodies twitching — and not think of my own two kids," said Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, as part of the lobbying offensive.
Nothing seemed to be working. More and more lawmakers stepped forward to declare their opposition to military strikes. The dynamics — for and against military action — were strikingly bipartisan.
Some members of Congress were beside themselves, trying to make sense of it all. First the Obama administration had appeared to be marching toward a strike. Then the president hit pause and asked Congress to approve his course. Then came the Russian idea, so yet another pause. Altogether, the arguments of the administration had grown awfully complicated and seemed to be changing by the hour.
"I'm going to start looking for medication," Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. , remarked Tuesday morning. "This place is a zoo."
Obama's address to the nation Tuesday night wasn't the trumpet call to action that it might have been, absent the diplomatic initiative on Syrian chemical weapons. His statement reflected the complexities of the moment — a chance to avoid war, as he saw it, but a continuing need for congressional approval to keep a credible military threat alive.
"The whole terrain has changed," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said after a meeting of Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "We want to make sure we do nothing that's going to derail what's going on.".....snip~
How the Syria plan broke through, just in time
Hopefully the next time.....Putin wont have him jumping thru Hoops rather than tricking him into bringing Checkers to that game of Chess!