Foreign Policy Syria

This Was No Accident

No, Russia isn’t “saving” Obama from himself and the latest rumblings of a diplomatic resolution in Syria being the result of a gaffe by John Kerry aren’t true.

According to Reuters, a spokesman for Putin has confirmed that President Obama and Putin discussed a diplomatic solution a week ago.

During his congressional testimony today, Secretary of State John Kerry also confirmed that he began discussing a solution with the Russians last week.

Meanwhile, in America, pundits and populace alike set their hair on fire and declared that the president is a warmongering tyrant.

Second verse, same as the first.

Update... from Reuters

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama discussed a potential diplomatic solution on Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week when the two leaders discussed the crisis at the G20 summit, Obama told PBS NewsHour in an interview on Monday.

"I did have those conversations. And this is a continuation of conversations I've had with President Putin for quite some time," Obama said in the interview, one of six he gave to major U.S. television networks.

  • ChrisAndersen

    It’s amazing how many people just immediately leaped to the conclusion that Putin saved Obama from himself. It’s not just right-wingers who think that Obama is a naif out of his element. It’s also much of the media and a significantly loud portion of the progressive left.

    Even after all this time and all the success he has had they simply refuse to believe that he might actually know what he is talking about.

    • Felonious Grammar

      What better way to pretend that the press didn’t play cheerleader for a preventive invasion and occupation, and that the press didn’t do everything they could to get W. elected.

    • Richard_thunderbay

      You’re talking about a bunch who have been coached by Greenwald for years to consider him nothing more than a monster who kills babies.

  • Badgerite

    Apparently Putin finds that Russia’s relationship with the United States is somewhat more important to Russia than he likes to let on.

    • ChrisAndersen

      It’s the Great Game all over again.

    • IrishGrrrl

      I don’t think it’s that. I think Russia thinks Assad will stay in power longer if he’s reasonable than if the U.S. bombs the crap out of him and that helps the opposition take power. See my comment above for two important reasons why Russia NEEDS Assad to stay in power.

  • Ipecac

    Meanwhile, the asshat Firebaggers say this:

    “If Obama withdraws his demand for Congressional authorization of war,
    it will not be because he and John Kerry played 12-dimensional chess
    and secretly hope to bring peace to the earth. It will be because they
    played duck-duck-goose with such incompetence that they managed to knock
    each other unconscious in the process.

    If a war is prevented here — and it’s way too early to say that — it
    will be the result of public opinion in the United States and the world,
    the courage of Parliament in Britain, and the glimmerings of actual
    representation beginning to sparkle through the muck and slime on
    Capitol Hill.

    If celebrating Obama and Kerry’s super brave and strong heroism in
    stumbling into a Russian barrier to their madness gives them the
    “credibility” to put their guns back in their pants, then by all means
    celebrate that fiction.”


    • Felonious Grammar

      They are just so much more clever and better informed than Obama and Kerry, and of course, more noble in their aims. Behold! What brilliance! What gravitas! What skepticism! What mind-reading! What divination! What garbage! Ratfuckers. That is all.

    • Badgerite

      Ah, the far left. Ya gotta love ‘em. Why it was THEY who stopped the war AND the use of chemical weapons on civilian populations. Oh wait. They didn’t care about that last one so much.

    • ChrisAndersen

      Russia has moved more towards Obama’s position in the last week than they have in the last two years, yet somehow nothing Obama has done during that week had anything to do with this shift.


      • Badgerite

        I think, but for Obama and Kerry’s actions, that Assad would be doing strategic calculations as to where he could drop his next canister of gas.

    • Zen Diesel

      What it boils down to, is that Putin knows a US war with Syria would fuck up his money train on two levels. How could Syria pay Russia back for all the weapons and loans Russia gave them if they being bombed to smithereens. Second a war would put a serious damper on the upcoming Olympics in Russia. On the flip side, Obama knows Syria is hornet’s nest that the US would prefer not to poke. I am sick of hearing wingnuts explain what Super Reagan or Idiot Bush would have done, when in reality this is truly a JFK moment.

      • IrishGrrrl

        Also, don’t forget two other things…..First, Russia has a monopoly on natural gas supply to Europe and believe me, Europe has been bent over and grabbing their ankles on that one for a while now. If the Assad regime is out, then the new one would probably let someone else (Turkey?) put a natural gas pipeline through to Europe and voila, monopoly gone. Second, I believe Syria allows Russia to use one of their ports–a warm water port has been on Russia’s Christmas List since they came out of the caves. The loss of that would be a BIG thing to them.

        • Zen Diesel

          Yep, I totally forgot about the natural gas pipeline and that fact that Russia has a couple of bases in Syria “another reason why bombing Syria could have ended up being a really bad idea”

  • Schneibster

    ‘”And this is a continuation of conversations I’ve had with President Putin for quite some time,” Obama said”‘

    Smackety. Tolja. Putin tried to pretend Obama was a dumb n—– and Obama pwnt him hard two or three times. Putin appears to be smarter than about two-thirds of the press.

  • Zen Diesel

    But what about Benghazzzziiiii!!!!

    • Victor_the_Crab

      Wait ’till tomorrow!

      • Zen Diesel

        The Fox News troll monkeys panties are all twisted in a knot. I wonder if Slannity will seek to have Putin on his All American panel….lol.

  • dubstub

    The fact that diplomatic solutions had been discussed previously is hardly enough to convince me that this is all going according to some preconceived plan, but in any case, I’m glad to see that it’s happening. I have to say, I don’t understand is the continued need for loyalists to demonize those who have been against military intervention, sought diplomatic solutions, and supported Congressional authorization, not because they hate Obama but because they hate war and the war machine. Many anti-war people recognize that the forces of war are structural, not personal, so the suggestion in some of the comments here that all opposition to military intervention is secretly motivated by animosity towards Obama seems unfair to me. Of course, there’s no denying that there are people that will oppose anything this president does because of who he is, but it does not follow that anyone who opposes policy decisions of the administration or voices concerns does so because they wish to see the president fail. I credit the President for seeking congressional authorization when many said he should attack without it, and I credit him for his cool yesterday and today in putting the breaks on what I consider a dangerous course of action. I’m hopeful that he will continue to be a bigger man than his harshest critics and most loyal supporters alike.

    • Badgerite

      There is only one problem with your reasoning and that is that you seem to think that the war in Syria is not now going on and that the US actions would somehow make a war when it is not. It is already a war with all that that implies. The US just happened to be standing more or less safely on the sidelines until this point. Neighboring countries have been feeling the effects of it for a long time.

    • MrDHalen

      I think a lot of people take issue with the idea that war is never an option. Truth is, war is still an option on our planet. There are still bad people and hand shakes and tea will not prevent them from doing bad things. Stopping a country’s government from gassing its own people should be a world issue, but when it’s brown people being mass murdered, the world wants to shrug and say “do we have too?”. Limited, surgical, military operations to prevent chemical mass killing of civilians is not the same as boots on the ground and unlimited war. When people baldly claim they are all the same and war is war and it should never happen, they lose credibility and most likely ignore reality.

      • Badgerite

        Exactly. Thank you.

      • dubstub

        Yes, I understand that. Still, many people who believe in just-wars and humanitarian military interventions have made plausible arguments that military intervention in Syria is unlikely to have humanitarian consequences. However, if you agree with the administration that military intervention is the right thing to do, I think that is also reasonable position. Weighing geopolitical and ethical options is certainly no simple task and there are seldom clear cut answers.

    • ChrisAndersen

      I’ve never demonized anti-war people.

      I am and always have been anti-war (I marched against the war in Iraq).

      But the nature of a lot of the commentary about Obama in this matter seems to be of two kinds. Either he is a bloodthirsty warmonger who is just champing at the bit to drop bombs on the Middle-East or he is a hopeless naive amateur who should just step aside and let the professionals do their work.

      Both characterizations are extremely disrespectful and the explosion of reaction to this story yesterday was a dictionary definition of it. It took hours before anyone seriously started suggesting the idea that maybe Obama actually does deserve some credit.

      That is what pisses me off.

      • dubstub

        What I object to is the idea that in order to support Obama you must agree with his position on these complex matters, that you shouldn’t think through them for yourself and reach your own conclusions. When people like Rachel Maddow said they thought Obama should go to Congress for approval, they were accused of trashing the president. Then when he went to Congress the same people said what a great and wise move it was. Similarly, a lot of the people who have been arguing that a diplomatic solution is completely impossible are now saying how brilliant John Kerry was to suggest one. Now, I’m fine with people changing their minds, and situations change and all that. But I think that a strong case can be made that push-back from within the Democratic base has been essential to keeping us out of a military conflict so far and enabled the possibility of a diplomatic solution. Without it, I believe it is likely that the strikes would have been carried out without going to congress, not because Obama is a warmongering tyrant, but because executive power seldom checks itself voluntarily.

        • ChrisAndersen

          It’s hard to respond to criticism of “some people” when those “some people” change from critique to critique. For example, are the “some people” who attacked Maddow before Obama went to Congress the same “some people” who praised Obama after he did it? Are the “some people” who argued that a diplomatic solution was impossible the same “some people” who praised it now that it is happening?

          Until you can cite specific examples of the “some people” in these cases and describe exactly what they said in each of the circumstances than it is very easy to say that “some people” are being inconsistent in their comments.

          • dubstub

            There are clear examples that I could cite, but I won’t. Sorry, it’s just not worth my time. Good day.

          • 1933john

            Invoking Danth’s Law?

          • dubstub

            Seriously, if you haven’t seen this happening the past few weeks, then you haven’t been paying attention. It’s not my job to provide a review of the news for you, and I don’t care about ‘winning’ an argument here.

  • Bob Rutledge

    The vast majority of Murrikans can’t conceive of a thinking, reasoning person. Much less such a person being President. Much much less that such a person might be President and Teh Black.

    • Christopher Foxx

      The vast majority of Murrikans can’t conceive of a thinking, reasoning person. Much less such a person being President.

      Well, most of the last 30+ years of Presidents have given them fairly good reason to believe that.

    • ChrisAndersen

      I wouldn’t go that far. Obama’s support among the electorate is still strong (50% is not a terrible approval rating) and among Democrats about the best I’ve ever seen.

      It’s just a few of the loud people who make it look like he is overwhelmingly disrespected.

      Unfortunately, a lot of those loud people are in the media.

  • Felonious Grammar

    If Putin had thought of this approach and proposed it before the credible threat, then we could pat him on the back and say, “Good despot.”

  • CL Nicholson

    Putin went to sitting on his ass to begging Assad to give up his nerve gas, conveniently after Obama declared who bomb his ass to kingdom come for using it on civilians – is a victory for Putin? Uh-huh.

  • ThePanicMan

    Butbutbutbut That Goddamn Idjit Negro got lucky! Whitey Whiteness saved him from making a mistake! We know it’s true because we need it to be true or we look like fools!

    • IrishGrrrl

      The truth or lack of it has nothing to do with making them look like fools. Their very existence suffices.

    • Christopher Foxx

      We know it’s true because we need it to be true or we look like fools!
      “We know it’s true because we need it to be true or we look greedy!”
      “… or we have to admit our hypocrisies!”
      “… or we have to admit we made a mistake!”

      Whichever variant, you’ve summarized the central core of Republican and “conservative” belief system: We know it’s true because we need it to be true. Reality and facts be damned.

      • Felonious Grammar

        What tag do use for underlin— wait. Let me guess.