Secretary of State John Kerry’s gaffe in London has allowed Obama to escape the Syria debacle while saving as much face as possible. Yesterday morning, Kerry responded to a question at a London press conference by saying Assad might be able to avoid a U.S. military strike if he turned over all chemical weapons within a week. He then said he didn’t expect that to happen. But, by the end of the day his alleged gaffe was embraced by Obama, Russia, Assad and British Prime Minister David Cameron. What a lucky break for Kerry! He makes a supposedly off the cuff remark, then all of a sudden all the major players are embracing the plan!
I’m not buying it. This just doesn’t pass the smell test. At the same time this is happening Harry Reid was delaying the vote in the Senate to authorize Obama to use military force in Syria. He said the delay was to give senators more time to weigh the arguments of Obama and other proponents of launching military strikes on Syria. I’m not buying that either. This vote was delayed for one of two reasons, possibly both. First, the votes are not there to authorize military force. Having the vote now would be an embarrassing defeat for Obama. Second, the vote could have been delayed because it was known in advance that Kerry would make this alleged gaffe and that all parties would suddenly embrace it. I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that all parties involved had been working behind the scenes to concoct this scheme to avoid military action. Although Kerry did say the chemical weapons would have to be turned over within a week, now that Russia and Assad have endorsed the plan there’s no way the U.S. can continue with the strikes. Everyone knows it will take far more than a week to turn over the chemicals, but with Assad supposedly cooperating how could we possibly launch a strike?
Will Assad actually turn over the chemicals or is this all just a big show to let the issue slowly dissipate over the weeks and months it will take to get the weapons turned over? That is an unknown at this point. The only thing that seems certain to me is that Obama and company wanted a face-saving way out of this and Kerry’s blunder has saved their bacon. Couple that with the fact that this administration doesn’t seem to be able to tell the truth about even the time of day and I am not buying this ‘unintentional gaffe’ story. Not one bit.
But, intentional or accidental gaffe notwithstanding, if this allows Obama to save face while keeping out military from becoming involved in Syria then I am all for it. Let him save face. Let him save whatever he wants as long as it keeps out military where it belongs, which is out of Syria.