Has the world grown so skeptical about American statesmanship that even a great diplomatic solution is written off outright, as accidental? I’m talking about US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s now-famous unwitting afterthought to his comment which set the Syrian crisis rolling toward a more peaceful solution. The proposal that Kerry implied as a sarcastic aside was that, were Syria to hand over all its chemical weapons, the US would suspend plans for its military strike.
Reaction was swift. As he flew home, somewhere over the mid-Atlantic ridge, ironically the exact spot where the east meets west if only as tectonic plates, Kerry received a call from his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, informing him that, based upon Kerry’s remark, Russia will make a formal proposal to Bashar Al Assad which, Lavrov added, Assad is sure to go for. He didn’t reveal of course, that he had already spoken with the Syrian strongman and got his acquiescence.
So caught on the back-foot were the Americans by the Russian move that they didn’t have a chance to blurt out, “What the….!” Embarrassed consternation was quickly followed by the sullen posture of a schoolyard bully who has just received a punch in the gut by the kid’s elder brother, who just happens to be an even bigger bully himself.
This fleet-of-foot masterstroke by Vladimir Putin is something I haven’t seen in a long while but have come to expect of him. The bare chested, bear hunting, salmon fishing, bike riding, kung-fu fighting Russian dictator has bested the Harvard educated American Pres. Who was the better statesman here, Obama or Putin? Sorry, it is open season for stupid questions, actually.
Meanwhile, our ‘accidental diplomat’, John Kerry, is glowering, mad as hell. Given his stony demeanor and the lack of either charisma or any history of diplomatic brilliance (the only pluses being – having a billionaire heiress to the Heinz ketchup empire as his wife and a dubious Vietnam service record), nobody is going to believe his comment was carefully orchestrated.
Kerry is now a jumbled mess…”Uh..what? No, it was a diplomatic victory…ummm…we got them to hand over their chemical weapons…we made the world safer.” I didn’t hear any ‘yayyyy!’ or ‘yahooo, way ta go, John!’ I heard the gnashing of teeth, giant teeth, from Messers Lockheed, Northrop Grumman and Boeing. They have to now lay people off. Tsk, tsk. Silver lining…they can ask for a bail-out, can’t they? After all, America is bail-out land.
Everyone knows that the talks that are now being held in place of the US military strikes, aren’t going to go anywhere. There are millions of ways, WMD can be hidden away and compliance shown to inspectors, especially when you have a civil war raging. A minority Shiite in a Sunni-majority nation, Bashar has learnt some lessons from his Dad, Hafez. He remembers as a teenager, the methodical way his father went about annihilating the Muslim Brotherhood so that it ceased to exist in Syria.
Everyone also knows that Bashar Al Assad had been only partly truthful when he stated earlier on that he hadn’t had chemical weapons. Partly true because, prior to the turn of the millennium, he really didn’t have any. The grapevine says that they were all transferred to him for safekeeping by Saddam Hussein, at around the same time he was transferring his MIGs and Sukhois to Iran long before the Iraqi invasion began. Dictators have a brotherhood too.
Maybe the Americans had been right about the Iraqi WMD all along, only dumb enough not to look for the stuff in Syria. Maybe the Yanks found out only now and that’s why they are so pissed off. They don’t want to be hoodwinked twice over the same WMD. They want to punish Syria not just for possessing chemical weapons. They want to punish them for also being a party to Saddam’s final sleight-of-hand.
Just as well. Barrack Obama’s own heart doesn’t lie in aggression. He is just not that kind of a man. He has one flaw though…the desperate hope of gaining the acceptance and approval of the constituency that loves waging war, the conservative white right (the conservative right is always white anyway) in both, his own party as well as the Republicans. In the process, Obama has started resembling King Louis the Orangutan of Jungle Book. Remember the character who sings that hilarious number with his bandar-log, ‘I wanna be like you’? Don’t be surprised if he even starts trying out one of those lotions you get in India that folk use to lighten their skins.
And in the end, they are all Ivy League (Kerry is Yale, while Bush and Obama are Harvard) alumni. Lets name Ivy League the boot camp for dumb diplomats and dumber Presidents, just as Goldman Sachs is, for grab-it-all ‘banksters’.
Meanwhile that Hollande guy in France, a wolf in socialists’ clothing, is living proof that in politics, ideology really doesn’t exist. He desperately wants the center stage but is clueless about what is the right thing to do as regards Syria. He is busy beating a hasty retreat from all his war mongering, trying his best to appear a statesman. And David Cameron? He just saved himself major embarrassment, supporting American military strikes even when his employers, the British Parliament, had already rejected it. Wonder if Dave should face insubordination charges. He told me to tell you he’s sorry for wanting to be James Cameron instead.
And the Russians, well, I heard they started the new session of the State Duma with a breakfast of burgers and fries. Guess where they got their ketchup from? On a platter from Heinz of course.