For the last couple of weeks, President Obama has been running a two-tiered strategy: on one hand, scaring the holy bejeezus out of Assad and Putin, while simultaneously offering enough time for both parties to save face as they contemplate how to wiggle out of this mess.
It was only on Monday when it occurred to me that the most appropriate historical precedent wasn’t Iraq (of course) or Libya, but the quarantine line around Cuba in October, 1962. I’ll come back to this presently.
Of course the truth about how the Obama administration’s national security team has handled the Syrian chemical weapons crisis was almost entirely obscured in the press when it was reported that Russian president Vladimir Putin, via his foreign minister Sergey Larov, had, at least on paper, convinced Bashar al-Assad to permit the dismantling and seizing of his military’s chemical weapons arsenal. In keeping with nearly every accomplishment of this president, whether center-right or center-left, liberal or conservative, the news was treated as somehow a defeat for the administration — that Pooty-Poot had reared his head into the airspace over Syria and fulfilled the conservative fantasy of Putin The Peacemaker, not to mention Putin The Obama Disser.