'From Russia with Love' (Vlad's theme)
As the world turns, Vlad from Moscow has a message for the American people:
"We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement. A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government's willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action.""
Mr Putin's op-ed raises a few question: Who is going to supervise this "placement" of weapons? Where exactly are these weapons going to be "placed"? How long is this going to take? Who is going to tell Al Qaeda that Syria is now a "WMD free zone"?
We have two recent examples of governments "surrendering" their weapons.
The successful case was Libya, but it took an invasion of Iraq and capture of Saddam before Ghadafi said "I will call Bush".
Today, Assad sees a US president and Secretary of State assure everyone that it will be "a very small attack". Do you think that Ghadaffi would have surrounded his weapons if we had just fired a few missiles at Iraq?
The unsuccessful case was Iraq. We spent the 1990s watching Iraq make fools of the UN by violating resolutions and eventually kicking out the inspectors in 1998. My biggest fear of this Russian proposal is that will turn into Iraq all over again, i.e. UN resolutions that are not enforced and a mockery of whatever is agreed on.
Yes, a diplomatic solution is always better than sending young men to war. However, allowing bad guys to "buy time" with diplomatic games is a lot worse.
Last, but not least, I don't trust Vlad Putin.
Worse than that, I am not sure that President Obama can play chess with President Putin.