Putin Set-up Obama and Kerry for the Spike in 2014
When you leave the carnival broke, sometimes you don't know how bad you were had until you find your watch is missing. And if the watch doesn't convince you, finding your wallet gone, too, should.
In a September 12, 2013 CNN article entitled "Kerry: Talks on Syria chemical weapons 'not a game'" we not only learned that John Kerry pretends he isn't being played, but also that Syrian President for Life al-Assad had, that day in an interview with Russian TV, said that "the United States also must stop arming the rebels for his government to sign on to the global convention banning chemical weapons."
In the original version of Tom Cohan's piece that announcement came in the forty-seventh, and dead last, paragraph. Later that day, the copy was revised and the al-Assad codicil was moved up to the sixth paragraph. Apparently, CNN had not, at first posting, noticed its significance.
More details of the U.S.-Russian agreement came out today in the NYT, including:
- "international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November"
- "Syria must submit a 'comprehensive listing' of it chemical weapons stockpiles within a week"
- "complete elimination of all chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of 2014"
Much of the Times article discusses the U.N.'s role in the process - reviving images of former U.N. Iraq Weapons Inspector Hans Blix, who recently turned 85 and is probably not up for another foray sniffing out suspicious canisters in the Middle East.
So Syria has until the end of June 2014 to comply with the agreement - nearly a year. That's four months before the 2014 mid-term elections in the U.S.
Is President Obama likely to ramp-up the bomb-Syria rhetoric just before the mid-terms, even if "the deal" has soured by then?
Some will argue that dialing up war rhetoric could work to Obama's advantage before the mid-terms. But by then, ObamaCare will be rolling out over the countryside, and the U.S. economy is unlikely to be in any better shape than it is now. More likely, worse. Saber-rattling would not play well next summer.
In the meantime, Russia pumps conventional weapons into Syria, accompanied by Russian "advisors" who are necessary to assure the arms arrive at their proper destinations and that Syrian military personnel are trained in their use. And, Bashar al-Assad remains in power.