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NYT Says Syria Plan Was Obama’s Idea All Along

From the always reliable water carriers at the New York Times:

An Unlikely Evolution, From Casual Proposal to Possible Resolution

By PETER BAKER and MICHAEL R. GORDON | September 10, 2013

WASHINGTON — The afternoon gathering of world leaders was just breaking up in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday when President Vladimir V. Putin walked over to President Obama and began chatting casually. Mr. Obama suggested they sit down, and the two pulled chairs into a corner of the room.

They had been at odds over Mr. Obama’s plans to launch airstrikes against Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack on civilians. But now Mr. Putin brought up an idea. What if Syria surrendered its stockpiles of poison gas to the international community? Mr. Obama suggested that they have their top diplomats explore it further.

While the proposal appeared to come out of the blue when Russia made it public on Monday after a seemingly offhand comment by Secretary of State John Kerry, it had actually grown out of conversations between Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin going back more than a year.

You see? This wasn’t a gaffe. And it wasn’t Putin’s idea. It was originally brought up by Obama. He deserves all the credit.

But notice that we are now we are supposed to believe this plan has been under discussion "for more than a year." And yet nobody at the State Department, including Kerry, had ever heard of it before.

But Mr. Kerry’s remark gave Mr. Putin the opening to spring the idea on the world, seize control of the Syria debate and effectively derail Mr. Obama’s planned strike.

BS. If any of this were true, all Obama would have had to do is said was that the plan was his idea and he had realized that it was unworkable. But, instead, Obama embraced it with both arms.

Although skeptical of his Russian counterpart, Mr. Obama has now tentatively embraced the proposal as a possible resolution to his confrontation with President Bashar al-Assad — and at the same time as an escape from a showdown with a Congress poised to reject military action.

But as Washington contemplated the many obstacles to the plan on Tuesday, many officials, including some in the White House, wondered whether Mr. Putin was playing Mr. Obama rather than helping out…

And this is exactly why Obama ordered his White House minions to tell the New York Times that it was all his idea. He can’t have anyone thinking he was played by Putin.

The discussion about Syria’s unconventional arms first came up between Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin when they met on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, in June 2012, according to accounts of several administration officials who requested anonymity to describe internal and diplomatic conversations.

Even though they are clearly acting under Obama’s orders in ‘leaking’ this to The Times.

Their meeting was dominated by their dispute over Syria and the civil war, but according to aides, Mr. Obama mentioned the issue of securing Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons.

The president brought the idea up more notionally than concretely, and it went nowhere, aides said, because the Russians were highly resistant to any intrusion in Syria’s internal affairs.

You see? It was originally Obama’s idea. And he brought it up more than a year ago. It just took the Russians a long time to come around. And they only did so because of Obama’s gutsy threat of force:

A few months later, Mr. Obama raised the stakes on the matter when he declared in August 2012 that Mr. Assad should not cross the “red line” of using such weapons.

You see, this wasn’t a gaffe, either. It was cunning state craft.

By spring, as reports emerged of small-scale chemical attacks, Mr. Obama struggled over whether his red line had been crossed and how to respond. Mr. Kerry visited Moscow in May and, echoing Mr. Obama, again mentioned the issue of securing Syria’s weapons with Mr. Putin as part of a broader political transition the United States sought to remove Mr. Assad.

Mr. Putin agreed to keep discussing it. “He said, ‘O.K., you work with Lavrov on this,’ ” another senior official recalled, referring to Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. Mr. Kerry talked about it with Mr. Lavrov at a dinner that did not start until midnight and continued until 2 a.m. The two considered the idea in the context of Libya, which voluntarily gave up its nuclear program a decade earlier. But once again nothing happened, because the idea was tied to a broader Geneva-based peace process that foundered.

Obama administration officials said they never offered a disarmament plan publicly themselves because it would have been pointless unless Russia was determined to bring Syria to the table. “We believed it would be dead on arrival in terms of us leading the diplomacy with the Syrians in pursuit of this,” a senior official said.

And we believe them, too.

In fact, the rest of this long article is devoted to giving us the play by play of how the Russians were finally forced to accept Obama’s brilliant idea.

But which is worse? Basing you policy on a gaffe or being so naive as to trust Syria and Russia, both of whom are our implacable enemies?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, September 12th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “NYT Says Syria Plan Was Obama’s Idea All Along”

  1. mr_bill

    The NYT’s “inside sources” are actually satirical comments made here by the S&L folks. They simply re-package the humourous comments made by everybody here and report is as “hard news.”




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