This blog holds no brief for the Russian thugocracy led by thug-in-chief Vladimir Putin. But we may have just witnessed what could rank as a top drawer geopolitical equivalent of a chess move.
In matters of international relations, when it comes to diplomatic confrontation with the United States and President Obama, the disagreement has just been shown to be one of men versus boys.
Moscow has shown itself to be home of the men and Washington the playground of the boys.
Putin’s move, if it is accepted by al-Assad, has the capacity to completely wrong-foot Obama and Kerry and undermine their efforts to push for authorisation from Congress for an attack on Syria. If Syria responds positively Obama will struggle to secure the votes needed to let the Tomahawks fly.
Russia has coolly opened to the door to another way of dealing with the chemical weapons threat the US is using as an excuse to intervene in the country’s civil war. It is a face saving opportunity for the US to back down and stay out of the Syrian disaster.
We could sum up Putin’s communication to the White House and where it leaves Obama in one word. ‘Check’.