Wednesday, September 11, 2013

GOP pantsed again by Obama

Everybody should be clear on the fact that I'm no great fan of this president (since at least 2009, by my own accounting), but last night ... he pulled the Republicans' Dockers down around their ankles once more. For the second time in two weeks.

He gave the only speech he could give, but with one little surprise: a concession to those of us -- on the right and on the left -- who have called for peace.

I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path.  I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin.  I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies, France and the United Kingdom, and we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and to ultimately destroy them under international control.  We’ll also give U.N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st. 

That's pretty much everything a pacifist could ask for (short of a unilateral stand-down declaration, anyway) at this juncture.

Of course, some people just can't be happy about anything.

As Dean Wormer of Faber College put it... fat, drunk, and stupid -- aka "No war! What? No war?! Coward!" -- is just no way to go through life.

Let's look at this 'Putin got the best of Obama' business again.  When John Kerry mumbled a recourse for Assad to avoid getting bombed a couple of days ago, that wasn't an oops moment, as it seemed at the time.

While it's not clear whether Kerry had planned in advance to make that remark on Monday, the concept had been first proposed more than a year earlier.

"This wasn't an accident," a top White House official told The Huffington Post.

A senior administration official confirmed that President Barack Obama and Putin first discussed the concept in Los Cabos at the G-20 in June 2012. It was then brought up again at the most recent G-20 in Russia; while world leaders were mingling after the first plenary session, Obama and Putin went to a corner of the room and spoke for nearly half an hour about Syria.

You just don't see a president give back to Congress a few decades' worth of accumulated executive authority, nor have we often witnessed a president pull back from the brink of war to let the diplomats have another crack at it.

No, the president didn't change anybody's mind about whether to bomb Syria. Those of us who oppose it still do; those who think it's a good idea still think that this morning.  What I don't get is how international diplomacy exercised to avoid an End of Days military conflagration -- allegedly -- is such a terrible development.

But then I don't suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome.

To be fair and balanced, not everybody completely agrees with me. That hilarious John-Kerry-as-Mr.-Magoo moment does, however, seem to miss the point in the HuffPo article linked and excerpted above, and not because it was recorded a few hours before Obama took to the lectern last night.


Gadfly said...

Well, if not an accident, I still think it was, in its current iteration by Kerry, an off-the-cuff comment. At the least, he sure seemed surprised when the Russkies followed up.

Anyway, Team Obama's still not backing off the idea that Assad did it, and, I know that you know that itself is "problematic."

PDiddie said...

Yeah, if I was gambling I would still take about 70% odds that the missiles will fly.

And Kerry might have said something publicly he (at first, at least) wished he had not.

But where we are today is that the administration-- and for that matter, Assad -- has an out. There won't be any war if the plan comes together.

And Republicans still don't know whether to shit or go blind.

That makes for a good enough 9/11 anniversary.

Gadfly said...

Anyway, per my first comment, who do you think "did it"? I'm leaning more and more to "rogue generals" as the most likely suspect.

PDiddie said...

I think it's just as likely that the rebels did so. Syria is bad news all around, and we shouldn't go near that mess.

joshuaism said...

I think Kerry and Obama are competent and intelligent leaders but at the same time I don't think they are playing hyper-dimensional speed chess and plotting schemes within schemes when it comes to Syria,chemical weapons attacks, and retaliation.

The international intervention clause was just a lucky accident that Russia and Assad were able to exploit to the benefit of everyone. A real win-win for everyone involved, excluding the weapons manufactures and possibly the rebel armies.

As for who used the chemical weapons, like I said, I believe that Kerry and Obama are smart leaders and would not engage in attacks based on bad evidence. Why would they ever put themselves in a situation that would reveal incompetence at best and suggest "false-flag" conspiracy at worst?