President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin last week at Economic Conference in St. Petersburg, Russia
Well leave it to Russian President Vladimir Putin to come up with a plan to diffuse the crisis and temper the bloodlust for a U.S. strike on Syria.
The idea, apparently floated by Putin to President Obama when they met in an informal sideline discussion at the G20 economic conference last week in St. Petersburg, Russia was for Syrian President Bashar Assad to turn over his chemical weapons stock to the U.N.
And yesterday, in an early morning news conference in London (in a supposedly unscripted remark) Secretary of State John Kerry when asked if anything could forestall an American attack on Syria, he replied, "He (Assad) could surrender his chemical weapons to the international community".
Surprisingly, only because of his recent uncompromising stance and perceived lust for an attack, Kerry's supposed "gaffe" caught fire immediately and became instant news prompting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to delay indefinitely a Senate vote on an "authorization to use force" in Syria and last night on Fox News no less, Obama said, "We will pursue this diplomatic track. I fervently hope this can be resolved in a non-military way".
What it does it gets Obama off the hook and out of the corner he painted himself in last year when he made his "red line in the sand" comments over Assad's potential use of chemical weapons.
Of course the reality was Obama was out on a limb essentially by himself and he knew it. His "coalition of the willing" with other countries buying into his intended missile strike on Syria was next to nil. The British parliament wouldn't go along, the American people were overwhelmingly against it and significant numbers in Congress, Dems and Repubs alike were lined up opposing him.
And when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are your leading foreign cheerleaders urging you to strike Syria's Assad, the jig is essentially up.
So Putin's private diplomacy with Obama provided the escape route saving the American president from committing another unspeakable atrocity and misadventure in the Middle East.
Oh sure we'll hear the likes of Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham carping a U.N. chemical weapons inspection plan in Syria has to be "verifiable, definitive and time sensitive" and Putin's plan isn't "a stalling tactic", this from Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, D. Md., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, but essentially Obama's misguided misadventure into escalating Syria's civil war is over.
For most people, from heads of state, lawmakers, to the ordinary man (woman) in the street, the specter of the Bush administration's lies and propaganda over Iraq's Saddam Hussein allegedly having WMD which precipitated Bush invading Iraq ten years earlier weighed heavily on people's nightmare memory and was behind the overwhelmingly negative reaction to a U.S. military strike on Assad's government installations, which forced Obama to draw back from his strike plan.
So for all intent and purposes the immediate crisis is over and we can all step from the precipice, the brink of a potential world wide calamity and breathe a sigh of relief.
The world's oldest constitutional democracy was saved from committing another self inflected wound on itself, this time by the informal diplomatic effort initiated by that bad old Ex- Soviet KGB head himself, Vladimir Putin, the current autocratic president of Russia.
How's that for irony.