The shifting sands of the Obama Administration’s policy toward the war in Syria are shifting might quick these days, so quick that the administration has come up with four distinct policies vis-a-vis the Syria disarmament plan in less than 24 hours, and is now dubbing it a “significant breakthrough.”
It all began this morning, when Secretary of State John Kerry presented the proposal, mockingly insisting Syria would never agree to it. That position collapsed immediately when within a couple of hours Russia, and then Syria, agreed to it.
The State Department and White House officials responded to that by insisting the offer “wasn’t a real proposal” and that Congress still needed to authorize war against Syria, even though it’s clear that’s not going to happen, with the Senate indefinitely delayed and the votes flat out not there in the House.
Within an hour or two, and hot on the heels of that Senate delay, President Obama called it a “modestly positive development,” saying that if Syria was sincere, the attack would temporarily be on hold.
From there to here, just a couple more hours down the road, the president is now trying to paint this as a victory for his threats to start a war, and claiming he’d been planning this for years.
The reality is that the president’s push for war has failed. He lost the argument for war days ago, and today’s sudden deal, first met with anger by a hawkish administration that thought it was ruining everything, is now being grudgingly embraced as a last ditch way to save face for having been beaten so decisively in the court of public opinion.
The question from here is less about the implementation of the deal itself than about whether the administration thinks it can still salvage the war. If they come up with another “can’t miss” plan to lie America into war, expect the Syria deal to be summarily ditched again, since today’s shifts show they clearly don’t have much invested in making a deal happen.