Skip to comments.Retreat: Obama now interested in Russian diplomatic track as Reid puts Senate vote on hold
Posted on 09/10/2013 6:57:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
I imagine him phoning Putin to say he’ll accept the Russians’ lame charade on Syrian WMD if Moscow agrees to send Edward Snowden back, to which Putin naturally replies “Nyet, take it or leave it.” To which O, his second term crumbling around him, naturally says, “Okay.”
Waterloo for “smart power”:
President Obama on Monday took a sharp turn away from his “red line” threat to Syria on the eve of taking his case to the American people, saying in an interview with Fox News that he’s open to negotiations on an alternative plan that could avert a military strike…
“We will pursue this diplomatic track,” Obama told Fox News. “I fervently hope that this can be resolved in a non-military way.”…
“I welcome the possibility of the development,” he said. “We should explore and exhaust all avenues of diplomatic resolution to this.”
He said the U.S. should be able to get a “fairly rapid sense” of how serious the proposal is. “We are going to be immediately talking to the Russians and looking for some actual language they might be proposing,” he said.
Surreal as it may seem after Kerry’s gaffe heard ’round the world this morning, O actually wants the public to believe tonight that he kinda sorta intended this outcome. McCain and Graham issued a statement in the past hour demanding, not unreasonably, that Congress go ahead and vote to authorize force anyway, if only to increase Obama’s leverage with Syria and Russia. If we’re going to give Assad a chance to turn over his weapons, logically we want to show him that we mean business if he tries to stall. The problem with that, of course, is that it assumes Congress will vote yes when the whole point of O caving to this Russian scheme is that he knows the votes aren’t there — not only in the House, but maybe in the Democratic-controlled Senate too:
The Obama administration’s efforts to sway Congress to support military airstrikes against Syria suffered further setbacks Monday, raising serious doubts that the president will be able to muster the necessary support in either the House or Senate.
Three additional senators, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., announced their opposition Monday, eliminating three potentially critical votes for the administration…
Additional Red State Democrats, including Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska, remain undecided. Both senators are up for re-election next year in states that Obama lost in the past two presidential elections.
It’s not just Alexander, Blunt, and Heitkamp. Late this afternoon, John Hoeven and Johnny Isakson — two Republicans who’ve been willing to work with the White House before — declared that they’re opposed. Mitch McConnell, to no one’s surprise, is also leaning no. Suddenly, not only is 60 votes in doubt, 51 is in doubt too, which would be a catastrophic humiliation for the White House in a chamber controlled by their own party. Reid had no choice but to pull the plug, at least for now:
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delays Senate test vote authorizing military force in Syria.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) September 9, 2013
They’re not going to win a vote this week and Obama knows it — check out the numbers at RCP — but maybe their chances will improve in a few weeks if Assad drags his feet on turning over his weapons, or, worse, gasses another crowd. O himself realizes now that delay can only help:
Obama suggested that Syria’s willingness to pursue a diplomatic solution could give Congress more time to decide on whether to grant him the authority to strike.
“I don’t anticipate that you would see a succession of votes this week or anytime in the immediate future,” Obama said. “So I think there will be time during the course of the debates here in the United States for the international community, the Russians and the Syrians to work with us and say is there a way to resolve this.”
With Congress’s calendar already packed with budgetary matters and immigration, O’s best bet to extricate himself from this semi-gracefully is to let it drop off the public radar and hope that Assad doesn’t do anything to force it back on. And if he does, like, say, by using gas again, Obama will probably bomb him straightaway on the theory that while one use of WMD is worrisome but deserving of due deliberation in Congress, a second is evidence of a madman who needs to be punished with all haste. Either way, Obama’s congressional problem will be solved.
Via the Corner, here’s O explaining that he was hoping for a nice slow process all along in Congress and that no one ever said they needed to make a decision right away. Er, didn’t he say so a week ago, demanding a “prompt vote”? Exit question via Ed, who tweeted this out: Does this mean tomorrow night’s big Oval Office address is canceled too? I’m guessing no, just because that attempt to flush the big Syria clusterfark of 2013 down the memory hole would be too obvious. The president announced publicly that he’d explain to the nation why enforcing the WMD “red line” is important; the only thing that changed today, in theory, was the means of enforcement. His goal in all this is to save face, and postponing the speech after staking so much political capital would cut against that. But if the point of delay in Congress is to get the public to forget about Syria then a big primetime speech is totally counterproductive. Maybe he just should have moved it up to 9 p.m. tonight, when everyone will be watching football and won’t see it anyway.
Not a fan of Putin but I love the way he ridicules zero LOL
It would have been an epic slapdown for Obama.
The Democrats' 'Smart Power' Lies in Ruins
National Review | Sept 3, 2013 | Jim Geraghty / FR Posted by kristinn
Democrats Suddenly Realize What They Miscalculated About the World: Everything
As we await Congress decision on authorizing the use of U.S. military force in Syria, Democrats are suddenly realizing that their foreign policy brain-trust completely misjudged the world.
Being nicer to countries like Russia will not make them nicer to you. The United Nations is not an effective tool for resolving crises. Some foreign leaders are beyond persuasion and diplomacy. There is no international community ready to work together to solve problems, and there probably never will be.
You can pin this on Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Susan Rice, but most of all, the buck stops with the president. Those of us who scoffed a bit at a state senator ascending to the presidency within four years on a wave of media hype and adoration are not quite so shocked by this current mess.
We never bought into this notion that getting greater cooperation from our allies, and less hostility from our enemies, was just a matter of giving this crew the wheel and letting them practice, as Hillary Clinton arrogantly declared it, smart power (and fronted Time magazine cover).
(These people cant even label a foreign policy approach without reminding us of how highly they think of themselves.)
They looked out at the world at the end of the Bush years, and didnt see tough decisions, unsolvable problems, unstable institutions, restless populations, technology enabling the impulse to destabilize existing institutions, evil men hungry for more power, and difficult trade-offs.
No, our problems and challengers were just a matter of the previous hands running U.S. foreign policy not being smart enough. (Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...
RE: Not a fan of Putin but I love the way he ridicules zero LOL
If this plan really works out, they should take Obama’s Nobel Prize from him and give it to Putin instead....
But we don’t live in a just world...
Obama lied to us about Benghazi, and then spent a year covering up his dereliction of duty as Commander In Chief during the critical hours of the Benghazi Massacre.
Can anyone in the US Military trust Obama?
Why should we taxpayers trust Obama?
Who can trust someone whose own sealed personal records cannot be verified?
Obama cannot be trusted or verified is the obvious conclusion.
Obama is finished, failure at every turn!!! Democrats...use your God given brains....force Obama to resign, impeach him...or, go down with him!!! End of story!!!
I hope everyone is NOT missing the point here.
Putin/Russia was already an ally to Syria.
There are Russian interests there that Russia considers worth fighting for, maybe even a real war.
Kerry’s stupid remark reference Syria turning their gas weapons over to an international organization and Putin’s immediate offer to take on that responsibility now puts Putin totally and completely in the driver’s seat as to what happens in Syria from now on.
Because the US is totally shut out of any decision making regarding Syria.
That means Russia is now in the driver’s seat.
However, it could also mean that Putin is in the driver’s seat of a totally uncontrollable vehicle headed for the cliff.
Time will tell. But the ride will be very interesting.
I like Geraghty, but he is either being disingenuous or out of his depth commenting on foreign policy. Toppling another of Russia's client regimes (in addition to Libya) isn't being nice to Russia. The so-called reset changed very little - in Russian eyes, we are still putting the screws to them. And understandably so. If the Russians installed pro-Russian regimes in Saudi Arabia or Qatar, we wouldn't consider these to be friendly actions.
Let's roll back the tape, shall we? Before the 'Gaffe Heard 'Round the World', US policy pushed for the overthrow of Assad. But overnight, our policy has reversed. The US must now protect Assad since he alone is the only one who can direct UN inspectors towards existing stockpiles. Before long, Assad will be requesting US assistance in clearing out rebels who are jeopardizing this entire 'international' effort.
And keep in mind that this whole thing started because Obama wanted to punish Assad for using chemical weapons. Assad has now been handed a free pass.
<><> give a speech about Syria to the New America Foundation,
<><> speak to the Congressional Black Caucus
<><> participate in a classified briefing that the administration will provide to members of Congress, and,
<><> participate in another classified briefing for Congress on Wednesday.
The latter occurs on the twelfth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland and the one year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the State Department and CIA facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
Susan's argument is that a strike is necessary b/c we have "exhausted" all other means.
I guess Putin did not get the memo.
They've always been in the driver's seat. I don't understand why Putin is letting this charade play out. They have a nuclear veto and can deploy it simply by sending a confidential message to Obama to the effect that any attack on Syria will be considered an attack on Russia, and that strategic weapons will be used to repel the attack. What amazes me is how much ground the Russians have ceded since the end of the Cold War without much demur. It appears to rankle with ordinary Russians, which is why they keep on re-electing Putin. We've gotten used to the bear rolling over. I'm just worried that one of these days, they'll issue a threat, we'll ignore it, and we'll end up with a nuclear exchange. Heck, all of this theater over Assad handing over his chemical arsenal might simply be cover for the fact that Putin told Obama that he had better not attack Syria unless he's prepared to see our Mediterranean fleet thoroughly irradiated.
So did Kerry have a bug on him when he got together with the Russians?
You’re quite right...Syria is a Russian ally which comes with duties and obligations. Putin has been telling Obama to stay out of it...as it only feeds the flames...and alqueda.
Looks like someone called Mr. Husband’s bluff.
Putin, once again saving the Current Occupant of the White Hut from himself.
Syria has agreed to international inspection of chemical weapons, but has the Current Occupant? He still needs some kind of crisis to divert attention from the burgeoning outbreaks of both potential and outright treasonous acts that have occurred during his tenure.
Some 95% of the personal woe in this world is self-induced.
There’s no doubt Russia stepped in after we agreed to give a few billion dollars to various groups. I’m convinced we bought our way out of Obammy’s mess with tax payer dollars.
Obama leading from behind as usual. Too bad he wasn’t bright enough to think of demanding the WMD be turned over the UN control. Too bad nobody in his regime was smart enough to think of it. Upstaged by Putey. Pretty sad.