FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The Syrian Agreement: Obama Capitulates
We have an announcement that Russia and the United States have agreed to terms to extricate the Obama administration from the self-beclowning it has suffered at the hands of Barack Obama and John Kerry. As was predicted, the agreement represents a near total capitulation by the Administration.
- Syria will ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention.
- Syria will declare its chemical weapons stocks.
- Inspections will begin in November.
- Demilitarization of chemical weapons will begin at an unspecified point in time next year.
- The UN Security Council will ratify the agreement by a resolution.
What the Administration got:
- an agreement that Syria would produce a list of its chemical weapons next week. Russia had suggested a month as that was the time frame included in the Chemical Weapons Convention.
What the Administration gave up:
- UN control of the process. The US and Russia are negotiating the process.
- Recourse to force if Syria reneges.
I’m sure we will be reading a lot about the triumph of “soft power” and how the wise and munificent Obama succeeded in getting Syria to join the international convention which forbids the manufacture, possession, or use of chemical weapons. That is all fine and good but in order to achieve this momentous signing, Obama had to accede to Russian demands that he take the use of force off the table:
The question of U.N. authorization for using force in Syria came up less than 24 hours after the Russians first made their proposal. France quickly drafted a resolution that threatened to consider “further necessary measures” — code words for military force — if Syria makes a deal and then breaks it. The draft, negotiated with the United States and Britain, was met with public statements from Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin that they would not negotiate under threat.
Washington and London have now backed off the use-of-force provision, and a revised French draft being circulated at the U.N. Security Council has weakened it. Instead, the draft calls for continuous review of “Syria’s compliance . . . and, if Syria does not comply fully, to impose further measures” that are unspecified.
Don’t be fooled. This is a diplomatic rout.