The odds are that the Russians and Syrians will just keep dragging out any WMD agreement.
But it’s also possible that they may buckle down to an agreement that puts Syrian WMDs under international inspections. Some weapons will no doubt go underground. Some will be shipped away.
The latest steps do suggest that Russia may be prepared to move in that direction because in the big picture, once an agreement is reached, any future strike on Syria will become that much more difficult.
Obama’s mistake was hinging an attack on Syria on WMDs. The man may have a short attention span, but considering that he rode to power on the Iraq War debate, he should have known better.
Now he’s in Iraq. Except it’s called Syria. And he can probably thank John Kerry for getting him there.
Making the attack about WMDs reverted everything back to the Saddam WMD debate. Now we’re back with international inspectors and debates over evidence. None of that would have been an issue if Obama had focused on civilian casualties, rather than the WMDs.
If the Russian agreement does what it says and even if it only does some of it, bombing Syria becomes much harder once Obama commits to a WMD agreement. Obama may insist down the road that he still has the right to bomb Syria for non-WMD reasons once enough civilians have been killed, but it becomes that much harder to justify once an agreement has been reached.
Sure Putin outplayed Obama. But as usual, Obama really outplayed Obama. Putin just took the easy opening that Obama gave him.