Needless to say, the story at the top is a bit more recent than the one below it:
The United States and Russia have reached an agreement that calls for Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.Look, I understand -- the success of this is far from assured:
Under a "framework" agreement, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, Mr. Kerry said, speaking at a news conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov....
An immediate test of the viability of the accord will come within a week when the Syrian government is to provide a "comprehensive listing" of its chemical stockpile....But we're here. We're here because Obama threatened an attack and because Putin thinks that threat is credible. He's pounding his chest like a Russian Donald Trump and that makes all the right-wing and centrist insiders in America get tingles up their legs, but he wanted an out, and now here we are.
Security will be a major worry for the inspectors who are tasked with implementing the agreement; no precedent exists for inspection, removal and destruction of a large chemical weapons stockpile during a raging civil war. Mr. Lavrov said the agreement would require the cooperation of Syrian rebels and not just the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Much of the Syrian opposition is bitter about President Obama's decision to shelve the threat of military action and to negotiate with Russia, which is a major arms supplier to the Assad government.
"This is very, very difficult, very, very difficult," an American official said of the agreement. "But it is doable."
No, the president and the secretary of state didn't walk on water -- far from it (it was more like a joint stumble) -- but even if they had, the center and right response would be ... well, see the title of the post. A typical right-wing response is the sniffy one from Jazz Shaw at Hot Air:
I've been watching some talking heads on CNN this morning trying to spin this as some sort of a win-win, but that sounds like an awful lot of lipstick to try to paint on one rather sickly pig. On the plus side, if you weren't interested in a war where we wind up helping one of several sets of bad guys, this clearly will be a win.Wait -- isn't avoiding "a war where we wind up helping one of several sets of bad guys" the reason almost everyone on your side gave for opposing a military strike? And now we're there and you're sneering at that outcome? Is there no pleasing you people? (Oh, wait, I forgot: the president is a Democrat. I just answered my own question.)
But if you're monitoring the domestic and international politics and power plays in action, this wound up being nothing but a big old black eye for Barack Obama and John Kerry, while returning Vladimir Putin for a strutting turn on the world stage as a power broker.Yup -- in response to a credible threa of force from Obama, which Putin feared.
Will this be quick, as the President demanded? Not hardly. There will supposedly be "a list" turned over within a week. Of course, you know how lists are... details, details. Things can change, ya know? And will there be severe repercussions if Assad fails to live up to the terms of the deal in an orderly fashion? Of course there will! But it will be more sanctions, which never seemed to bother him in the fist place.I'm reminded here of the many people who've said an agreement is pointless, because we remember how Saddam played cat-and-mouse with us regarding his WMDs back in the 1990s. Except that we now understand that he actually shut down his WMD program in the 1990s, didn't he?
... In short, if this turns out to be a ploy and nothing in Damascus really changes, the UN -- with Russia's blessing -- is firmly on track to resort to some serious tongue clucking and speaking in lofty tones. That should show Assad who's the boss of him, eh?And since the predominant Republican alternative was to do nothing, that would have a better outcome vis-a-vis Assad and his chemical weapons how exactly?
Look, this is, at worst, a pretty good outcome, and maybe it's better than pretty good.
And now on to what really matters:
Will U.S.-Russia deal on Syria arms change the way Obama is being covered? We'll tackle that on @MediaBuzzFNC tomorrow at 11 am ET— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) September 14, 2013
Yeah, that's the critically important question, isn't it?