The destruction of Syrian chemical weapons (CW) has started. In a breakthrough moment in Iran-US relations, the two Presidents talked on the phone and the foreign ministers sat down to discuss Iran's nuclear programme. Though the connection has received little comment in the western news media, these two welcome developments are deeply linked and close to inter-dependent.
Obama sees Syria as one of the definitions of his presidency. But Syria is the battleground for a 21st Century proxy war. Iran, Saudi Arabia, many major players are there. And there is something else: Obama can't afford to do a 'W' and go in with all guns blazing. The president's past, steeped in vociferous opposition of the Iraq War, won't allow it.
How can President Obama make good on his campaign promises to strengthen the welfare state, invest in America's crumbling infrastructure and preserve American leadership in world affairs - all in a period of sluggish growth and continued economic uncertainty? The president will have the first of two important opportunities to provide some answers at his inauguration this Sunday.