What we seems to have now in regard to Syria is a time-out from air strikes and congressional votes while the French try to get the UN Security Council to mandate the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons. That would be a welcome development, but one hard to nail down and achieve even in a matter of weeks. Meanwhile, what happens?
The Obama administration sure looks as if it stumbled into this situation rather than marching there with a diplomatic initiative backed by the threat of force.
But as David Sanger of the New York Times says, it has many advantages:
But at this point, Mr. Obama is looking for a way to avoid defeat in Congress, Mr. Kerry is looking for a way to drive Mr. Assad and the rebels to the table, and the Russians are looking for a way to keep their Syrian client in power. And so the pressure seems likely to build to find a way for Mr. Assad to make a gesture that could avoid a strike, or at least an immediate one.I'm not sure I agree with all of those points, but I do foresee days if not weeks of more muddle -- diplomatically at the UN and with Moscow and Damascus, and on Capitol Hill. Congress will surely split into factions rather than coalescing behind a consensus policy on Syria, which I what I'd prefer.