As I said in my previous blog, Russia has a better handle on the Syrian situation than does America. And now a Russian president has done something no other Russian leader has ever done...erased a red line and extracted a US president from a no win situation.
Even though this might be a bitter pill for Barack Obama, he now owes Vladimir Putin a favour. Or as the Godfather might say, "There may be a time in the future when I will ask you for a favour in return."
That may be sooner than later. Putin has said if the US attacks Syria Russia may rethink its position on supplying its advanced anti missile system to Iran as well as Syria.http://news.yahoo.com/russia-toying-us-missile-sale-iran-raises-210520181.html
This will weigh on Obama's mind as will the myth of Syria actually handing over all its alleged 1,000 tons of chemical weapons to Russia. Dream on with that one. But, it makes good press.http://blogs.wsj.com/peggynoonan/2013/09/10/making-sense-of-syria/
For now Obama, officially backing off from his unwinnable congressional approval vote to attack Syria, can echo the words of Richard Nixon....what America wants is peace with honour. Well, at least his honour has been salvaged, for now. Peace in Syria is still a long way off...after all, not all its citizens have yet fled the country.
Obama, for all his intellect, is a victim of mass news media. He, as we all do, sees horrific sights in Syria of kids being killed by the score. He, as many of us, feels we must do something to end the carnage and brutality.
Back before WW2, horrific events such as the Japanese rape of Nanking, China and Jewish persecution in Germany were relegated to brief newsreel spots in cinemas and often small newspaper items. The mass media we have today didn't exist. So there wasn't the emotional impact and sense of urgency felt by people such as Obama.
The Pres knows the only way to stop the war would be to invade the country, something no American or European nation wants to do. His only stated option is to "punish" the Assad Regime via missile attacks. This would be a token gesture and if anything might make matters worse. The mere threat of such an attack has caused a new flood of refugees into Lebanon.
But, polls show a large majority of Americans against any involvement there. Aside from not wanting any more costly, in lives and money, foreign military adventures, Americans know Syria has never been our friend in the region. It's been Russia's pal since the late 1950s.
In the end, either Assad remains in power by crushing all opposition, a situation that would guarantee permanent refugee status for possibly hundred of thousands of people. Or, if he loses, the battle of the tribes would begin, with open season on the Assad's Alawites and anyone else who backed him. The bloodshed would continue, now said to be upwards of 1,000 dead per week.
What the western world has been learning from the so called "Arab Spring" is how incapable nations riddled with tribal and religious loyalties and hatreds are in creating stable democratic societies. Eventually, out of streets running red with blood, strong political or religious figures will take control as dictators, often bringing order by more brutal repression.
Which makes it all that more important to get the major players in this tragedy around a conference table in an attempt to create some order for a post war Syria. But that may be as difficult as finding all of Syria's nerve gas.
Yet, aside from all this, the big mystery remains the return favour Putin will ask of Obama within the next three years. And would Obama call his bluff on Syria?