This is interesting. The NYTimes is reporting Kerry’s comment as being offhand, but was it? Notice, if you will, that after the positive Russian response, the White House spokesman indicated they would take a serious look at it. It looks to me like the Obama administration might be looking for a graceful means to back off attacking Syria, given the opposition both in the Congress and in public polls to the potential attacks. It would have been easy enough to plant the question in a suitable, friendly reporters mind and ask the question to which Kerry could respond in a seemingly offhand manner. The goal would be to get the idea out there in a manner which could later be denied, if the response from the other side was lacking. Whether accidental or planned, the Kerry comment has the possibility of defusing this volatile situation. – Shorty Dawkins, Associate editor
This article comes from the NY Times.
By STEVEN LEE MYERS, MICHAEL R. GORDON and RICK GLADSTONE
MOSCOW — A seemingly offhand suggestion by Secretary of State John Kerry that Syria could avert an American attack by relinquishing its chemical weapons received an almost immediate welcome from Syria, Russia, the United Nations, a key American ally and even some Republicans on Monday as a possible way to avoid a major international military showdown in the Syria crisis. A White House official said the administration was taking a “hard look” at the idea.
While there was no indication that Mr. Kerry was searching for a political settlement to the Syrian crisis in making his comment, Russia — the Syrian government’s most powerful supporter — seized on it as a way of proposing international control of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.
The reactions appeared to reflect a broad international desire to de-escalate the atmosphere of impending confrontation even as President Obama was lobbying heavily at home to garner Congressional endorsement of a military strike.
Mr. Kerry’s suggestion — and the Russian and Syrian response — also seemed to represent the first possible point of agreement over how to address the chemical weapons issue that has threatened to turn the Syria conflict, now in its third year, into a regional war.
A top White House national security official, Tony Blinken, later suggested to reporters in Washington that the Obama administration was not dismissing such a possible solution.
“We’re going to take a hard look at this,” Mr. Blinken said. “We’ll talk to the Russians about it.”
Asked at a news conference in London if there were steps the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, could take to avoid an American-led attack, Mr. Kerry said, “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week — turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow the full and total accounting.” He immediately dismissed the possibility that Mr. Assad would or could comply, saying, “But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done.”
SUPPORT OUR BILLBOARD CAMPAIGN
Placing billboards outside of military bases to remind service members of their oath
Please donate and support Oath Keepers mission, every little bit helps!