Your move, Mr Obama

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’.

17 Responses to “Your move, Mr Obama”

  1. 1 theboilingfrog 09/09/2013 at 5:03 pm

    Syrian foreign minister has just warmly welcomed the proposal…

  2. 2 Attila 09/09/2013 at 6:47 pm

    It looks like Putin has played a blinder. This surely is a way out for everybody and a play the people of every state will be grateful for.

  3. 3 Tuco 09/09/2013 at 6:59 pm

    Either that or Obama looks like the Disney character HOOK,shouting i want my war.

  4. 4 Mark B 09/09/2013 at 8:24 pm

    This also screws up the ‘Rebels’. If they have chemical weapons ,then they are forced NOT to use them. If they do, then Assad will look like the good guy and the rebels the villains. The west then, will not be able to justify helping such people and will be seen as aiding users of WMD’s. To avoid the scandal and hypocrisy of their positions, they will have to walk away from the ‘Rebels’, effectively leaving them with no assistance. Game Over !

  5. 5 Judd 09/09/2013 at 9:24 pm

    Oh well played Putin, thats put a bloody good spanner in the works.



  6. 6 Audrey Quattro 09/09/2013 at 9:31 pm

    You can hear the Saudi’s grinding their teeth from here!

  7. 7 Odin's Raven 10/09/2013 at 12:24 am

    The Syrians have chemical weapons as a deterrent against Israeli nuclear weapons. If they give them up Israel can be asked to give up their nuclear weapons.

  8. 8 Brian H 10/09/2013 at 3:59 am

    Verification to include inspection of the Bakkan Valley? Pull the other one.

  9. 9 blackswansblog 10/09/2013 at 6:11 am

    This is what an ethical US should have been calling for all along. But instead, they wanted to use the 1429 chemical weapons victims in Damascus as a cynical excuse to attack Assad’s army – regardless of the large Al Qaeda element among the rebel forces. Putin, the (admittedly rather sleazy) professional, has out-witted the self-obsessed & narcissistical amatuer O’bama. Good!

  10. 10 Andy Baxter 10/09/2013 at 7:10 am

    Am I alone here or do I sense a seismic shift in the way the electorate are treating our so called ‘representatives’ both here and in the US?

    We seem to be saying ‘enough’ in so many different ways.

  11. 11 Autonomous Mind 10/09/2013 at 8:07 am

    I think you’re right Andy. When people start to show so much contempt for those who hold themselves as our leaders and betters it’s a big development. When we start laughing at them, it’s downhill all the way.

  12. 12 james higham 10/09/2013 at 8:27 am

    Won’t avail themselves though. This has nothing to do with rationality.

  13. 13 Pogle's Woodsman 10/09/2013 at 8:55 am

    I was amazed at the delusional reaction to Putin’s indication last week he’d be ready to respond to ‘a UN Resolution’.

    Obama’s administration weren’t alone in presuming he meant their own Resolution. It was they who put the constituent mirages together to form an opinion that Putin would approve action against Assad ‘by any and all means’.

    If the collective western leadership* (*academic dictionary term only – not specific sentiment) couldn’t see that one coming, then what hope do they have? They’d have stood no chance against Stalin or Khrushchev’s styles of manoeuvrings?

    Whether it would happen or not – but Putin’s next step could be putting a couple of thousand NBCD Technicians on the ground and insist that the UN sign on the dotted line for their safety and security, then gain an assurance from ‘The Rebels’ that Russian personnel won’t be put in danger.

    There’s no chance of that whatsoever from the various anti-Assad groups – so in a stroke, Putin elevates the Assad opposition as not only the obstacle to peace, but the very people who are obstructing the decommissioning of Chemical Weapons.

  14. 14 cosmic 10/09/2013 at 10:39 am

    Mark B,

    “This also screws up the ‘Rebels’. If they have chemical weapons ,then they are forced NOT to use them. If they do, then Assad will look like the good guy and the rebels the villains.”

    I’m not so sure. Judgements are slanted by what people want to believe. The US (Obama) is geared up to attack Syria on a dubious balance of evidence. There’s a will to attack Syria and a will to believe Assad was responsible for the nerve gas attack.

    Cameron’s participation has been put off unless circumstances change substantially.

    Were there a further attack by the rebels, Assad would be accused of not playing fair. Obama and Cameron wouldn’t look right or left. They’d seize on it to claim they were justified all along, but were swayed by those of lesser vision, and off we go.

  15. 15 Adam West 10/09/2013 at 2:49 pm

    There was a private meeting between Putin and Obama at the recent G20 when the idea could have been raised. An additional Russian landing ship was sent on its way to Syria couple of days before the remark by John Kerry.

    Speculation about the ship movement is given in this article: What hides behind the mission of the Nikolai Filchenkov

    Remember the months of faffing about with UN resolutions over going into Iraq in 2003. It may have been a pantomime but it was a necessary performance. This time the US has had the appearance of itching to fire off some cruise missiles and acknowledges that previous gas attacks have passed without a similar call for action. Imo western leaders significantly underestimated scepticism over the evidence and objectives, and outright opposition to a sudden strike.

    Does anyone know where the figure of 1429 comes from? Could the US be adding up the deaths from the numerous smaller incidents beforehand as well? Other nations put the figure for deaths in the August attack at 250-400.

  1. 1 Regime change by any other name | Autonomous Mind Trackback on 10/09/2013 at 2:16 pm
  2. 2 … Putin is the Chessmaster , Obama is a Rank Amateur ! … « Lake Erie Conservative Trackback on 11/09/2013 at 12:08 am
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