While the US-Russian deal to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons is a welcome sign that diplomacy has a central part to play in this crisis, the retreat from early talk of military action also suggests a growing reluctance on the part of the US and UK to intervene directly in the Middle East. Whether this is a good or a bad thing, it is certainly something new.
What dictators in that region can't fathom is how a democracy works. How President Obama could back down on the use of force because the American people and their congressional representatives didn't want another Middle East war. Such populist power is unknown in Arab countries. Yet it would be a big mistake to hold the view the US has chickened -out of the fray.
Hearing about atrocities and suffering halfway across the world doesn't tend to hit close to home. The people feel distant and the language is foreign; it's too far. Standing at the edge of the Za'atari camp in Jordan listening to the sound of explosions from just across the border in Syria, suddenly it didn't feel so far anymore.
Another mass shooting, more panic on the streets of America. The images we witnessed are all too familiar. There were heroic first responders, crouching and crawling with their rifles. We saw unfurling police tape and flashing blue lights and terror stricken civilians fleeing the since. And now in the aftermath, the discussions into the gunman's motives are being exhaustively debated.
Given that many of the world's leaders are pointing their fingers in blame for the 21 August chemical weapons attack that killed an estimated 1,400 people straight at Syrian President Bashar Assad, the role the PR campaign that in the last week he, along with one of his greatest (and most powerful) allies, President Putin of Russia, has waged has certainly been surprising.
Unlike a military intervention in Syria, providing sufficient support to the country's refugees is something that should require no debate. The UN has appealed to the world to plug the $2billion shortfall of funds needed now to keep the seven million people displaced by the conflict safe and healthy.
It seems that every time the Labour Party hits the headlines, the bad smell of hypocrisy and double standards rears its ugly head. In case you don't know it, 'bad smell of hypocrisy and double standards' is my nickname for Tony Blair. Yes, the silver-haired war-monger is back, and he is just as obstinate and narcissistic as ever.