They looked like two dejected schoolboys in front of the headmaster by the end of the two-hour Putin-Obama summit at the sidelines of the Group of Eight meeting in Northern Ireland. But as astonishing as the sound of silence was the fact that, on Syria, the former KGB guy was trying to save the "leading from behind" dude from himself.
President Barack Obama coined the monster euphemism that they had "different perspectives" on Syria. He said, deceptively, "We want to try to resolve the issue through political means if possible, so we will instruct our teams to continue to work on the potential of a Geneva follow-up."
If Obama was really trying to solve Syria "through political means" he would not have pre-emptively bombed the Geneva II talks with his "weapons-for-peace" program, as in weaponizing only the "good" Syrian "rebels" and only with a few "non-lethal" toys (that's the bottom line of Washington's spin). "If possible" in this case does translate into "impossible." As for the Geneva II talks, they don't rate anything better than "potential" because Obama knows the myriad, squabbling factions of the Syrian opposition will boycott it.
Sometimes it sounded like Putin wanted to put Obama out of his misery (as in "Assad must go" but I have no clue how to make him obey me). He was visibly trying to impress to Obama that expanding the proxy war in Syria would make the current -- horrible -- status quo look like a walk in the park.
Putin knows Obama would even give up playing basketball if he could find a way to sneak out of getting bogged in Syria's civil war. Putin knows Obama simply cannot order a no-fly zone over Syria by decree -- as much as he may be under pressure by the usual warmonger senators, armchair warrior think tankers, corporate media and weapons manufacturers.
As for further weaponizing foreign mercenaries, Putin did hit the home run of the day; "One does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras."
Yet Putin is certainly aware of Washington's Plan C or D for Syria; what is being sold as a "humanitarian assistance," limited, no-fly zone -- along parts of the Jordanian and Turkish borders into Syrian territory. This is in fact Libya 2.0; a "limited" no-fly zone in a flash will apply to all Syria. "Limited no-fly zones" only exist in Spinland; this is a declaration of war. So let's see how Damascus plays it with the S-300 missile batteries it will receive from Russia.
Still, Putin announced that Obama would go to Moscow for yet another bilateral summit in early September, before the Group of 20 summit in St Petersburg.
The myth of Obama as "reluctant warrior" is pure nonsense. Even the Washington Post had to admit that the Obama weapons-for-peace gambit was decided weeks ago -- way before the chemical weapons fairytale.
As for those pathetically declining former colonial inventors of the Middle East a century ago, Britain and France, everyone in the European Union knows that both have already declared they will further weaponize the "rebels" by August -- after the by now certified failure of the Geneva II talks (which will happen, if ever, in July).
France is already merrily weaponizing, in close collaboration with those ur-democrats at the House of Saud. It seems that a French SS-11 missile is part of the package, as can be seen in this video (at 0:44).
Meanwhile, in that realm of King Playstation also known as Jordan, security types are all on denial mode that the kingdom is about to star as the base for the next no-fly zone Pentagon blockbuster. Well, they are definitely not reading the Wall Street Journal, which neatly outlines what the Pentagon is up to: actually a "no fighting zone," to be enforced by F-16s flying from Jordan.
It will be absolutely illegal -- what else is new -- because the idea behind it is to bypass the UN Security Council (where it would be vetoed by Russia and China) under the pretense that "the US would not regularly enter Syrian airspace and wouldn't hold Syrian territory." And even if it did, anything would be justified as self-defense. Once again, the warmongers in charge are all blissfully ignoring the Russian S-300 missiles.
By the way, lots of appetizing warfare toys are already parked in Jordan during the current "Eager Lion" military fun-fest, which should end this Thursday. Some of it will benefit from an extended visa and would certainly be used in the "no fighting zone" -- especially F-16s and Patriot missile batteries, as the Jordanians themselves are saying. Check out what Eager Lion is aiming at: "Integrated air and missile defense and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to address current and future conflicts' security issues."
Faster, pussycat, kill kill (all Shi'ites)
And then there's Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi breaking relations with Syria. True, as the "leader" of an absolutely devastated economy he badly needs money from the International Monetary Fund, those handy checks by the Emir of Qatar, and of course to smooth over relations with US right-wingers.
Morsi's move was also a taste of things to come from the Arab League -- which nowadays is essentially the Saudi-Qatari league, with everybody else as extras. As Qatar's foreign policy is Muslim Brotherhood forever, Morsi's anti-Syria move served to calm down those who hated his opening towards Iran and, so far, no explicit condemnation of Bashar al-Assad.
Much more worrying is Muslim Brotherhood superstar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, of al-Jazeera fame, issuing a fatwa for all Sunnis to go fight Hezbollah in Syria (even though Hezbollah has already stated, on the record, it is not fighting all over in Syria and from now on will only protect the Syrian-Lebanese border). This al-Qaradawi outburst has already been directly responsible for a new wave of suicide bombings against Shi'ites in Iraq. If Obama can't see that, he should stick to basketball.
Syria's Information Minister Omran Al-Zoubi has made the government's position very clear: any transition of power will go through the ballot box. No wonder all those "rebel" factions don't want democratic elections, because they know they will lose them. This is another fact Obama would have to admit -- if he was not being "advised" by a non-entity like Rhodes: the Geneva II talks would need to revolve around a democratic election roadmap.