The events surrounding Syria over the past few weeks have been absolutely fascinating. Someone, likely someone within Assad government, uses chemical weapons against the rebels killing hundreds of people, many non-combatants. America does its saber-rattling threatening Assad with some sort of maybe-useful-but-limited-and-that-is-all-we-swear retaliation for the use of chemical weapons (which, by the way, Syria has never signed on the the general ban on the use of chemical weapons). The American public wants no part in it. Republicans both complain that Obama should have attacked Assad much sooner and shouldn’t attack Assad at all and either way it proves that Obama is weak. Democrats mostly stay quiet. Then Secretary of State John Kerry, in what has been described as an off-the-cuff remark, kind of snarkily mentions that all Assad has to do is turn over his chemical weapons and no bombings will happen, like that is ever going to happen. This is quickly walked back by the State Department but not before Russia jumps all over it. Now we have Russia brokering talks between Assad and the United States trying to come to a peaceful resolution. Assad seems amenable to the idea and has even said that Syria will sign the Chemical Weapons Convention if the U.S. promises not to attack.
I don’t think anyone could have predicted this chain of events occurring. Of course, getting this far is one thing, going any farther is another. It would be a true diplomatic coup for both Russia and the United States if all of Syria’s chemical weapons are turned over. Everyone gets to pretend to be strong and then save face. Winners all around. Well, except for the Syrian people, they’re screwed either way. And with over 100,000 already dead, it’s a stark reminder that the world stage is populated by megalomaniacs more concerned with how they look than what damage they cause the people unseen, unheard, unknown.