Retreat: Obama interested in Russian diplomatic track as Reid puts Senate vote on hold

posted at 7:21 pm on September 9, 2013 by Allahpundit

I imagine him phoning Putin to say he’ll accept the Russians’ lame charade on Syrian WMD if Moscow agrees to send Edward Snowden back, to which Putin naturally replies “Nyet, take it or leave it.” To which O, his second term crumbling around him, naturally says, “Okay.”

Waterloo for “smart power”:

President Obama on Monday took a sharp turn away from his “red line” threat to Syria on the eve of taking his case to the American people, saying in an interview with Fox News that he’s open to negotiations on an alternative plan that could avert a military strike…

“We will pursue this diplomatic track,” Obama told Fox News. “I fervently hope that this can be resolved in a non-military way.”…

“I welcome the possibility of the development,” he said. “We should explore and exhaust all avenues of diplomatic resolution to this.”

He said the U.S. should be able to get a “fairly rapid sense” of how serious the proposal is. “We are going to be immediately talking to the Russians and looking for some actual language they might be proposing,” he said.

Surreal as it may seem after Kerry’s gaffe heard ’round the world this morning, O actually wants the public to believe tonight that he kinda sorta intended this outcome. McCain and Graham issued a statement in the past hour demanding, not unreasonably, that Congress go ahead and vote to authorize force anyway, if only to increase Obama’s leverage with Syria and Russia. If we’re going to give Assad a chance to turn over his weapons, logically we want to show him that we mean business if he tries to stall. The problem with that, of course, is that it assumes Congress will vote yes when the whole point of O caving to this Russian scheme is that he knows the votes aren’t there — not only in the House, but maybe in the Democratic-controlled Senate too:

The Obama administration’s efforts to sway Congress to support military airstrikes against Syria suffered further setbacks Monday, raising serious doubts that the president will be able to muster the necessary support in either the House or Senate.

Three additional senators, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., announced their opposition Monday, eliminating three potentially critical votes for the administration…

Additional Red State Democrats, including Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska, remain undecided. Both senators are up for re-election next year in states that Obama lost in the past two presidential elections.

It’s not just Alexander, Blunt, and Heitkamp. Late this afternoon, John Hoeven and Johnny Isakson — two Republicans who’ve been willing to work with the White House before — declared that they’re opposed. Mitch McConnell, to no one’s surprise, is also leaning no. Suddenly, not only is 60 votes in doubt, 51 is in doubt too, which would be a catastrophic humiliation for the White House in a chamber controlled by their own party. Reid had no choice but to pull the plug, at least for now:

They’re not going to win a vote this week and Obama knows it — check out the numbers at RCP — but maybe their chances will improve in a few weeks if Assad drags his feet on turning over his weapons, or, worse, gasses another crowd. O himself realizes now that delay can only help:

Obama suggested that Syria’s willingness to pursue a diplomatic solution could give Congress more time to decide on whether to grant him the authority to strike.

“I don’t anticipate that you would see a succession of votes this week or anytime in the immediate future,” Obama said. “So I think there will be time during the course of the debates here in the United States for the international community, the Russians and the Syrians to work with us and say is there a way to resolve this.”

With Congress’s calendar already packed with budgetary matters and immigration, O’s best bet to extricate himself from this semi-gracefully is to let it drop off the public radar and hope that Assad doesn’t do anything to force it back on. And if he does, like, say, by using gas again, Obama will probably bomb him straightaway on the theory that while one use of WMD is worrisome but deserving of due deliberation in Congress, a second is evidence of a madman who needs to be punished with all haste. Either way, Obama’s congressional problem will be solved.

Via the Corner, here’s O explaining that he was hoping for a nice slow process all along in Congress and that no one ever said they needed to make a decision right away. Er, didn’t he say so a week ago, demanding a “prompt vote”? Exit question via Ed, who tweeted this out: Does this mean tomorrow night’s big Oval Office address is canceled too? I’m guessing no, just because that attempt to flush the big Syria clusterfark of 2013 down the memory hole would be too obvious. The president announced publicly that he’d explain to the nation why enforcing the WMD “red line” is important; the only thing that changed today, in theory, was the means of enforcement. His goal in all this is to save face, and postponing the speech after staking so much political capital would cut against that. But if the point of delay in Congress is to get the public to forget about Syria then a big primetime speech is totally counterproductive. Maybe he just should have moved it up to 9 p.m. tonight, when everyone will be watching football and won’t see it anyway.


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mnjg = nonpartisan
Hey, mnjg, do you want to talk about law school or do you have ‘to run and go get dinner’?
Resist We Much on September 9, 2013 at 8:28 PM

It sure sounds similar, but it only showed up for the Syria threads. There must be some personal connection to Syria that it won’t divulge.

happytobehere on September 9, 2013 at 8:32 PM

In all fairness, nonpartisan had better spelling, grammar and syntax. MNJG does not write like a native English speaker. And, nonpartisan could occasionally make a cogent argument, which MNJG has not been able to do yet. But, they are both clearly concern trolls.

Why the left believes that by pretending to be a conservative and pushing leftist talking points will sway any conservative is beyond me. Particularly when they are entirely unable to maintain a conservative tone in their comments. I guess it goes to their religious belief that we are all idiots too weak minded to think for ourselves and ergo, will follow like lemmings when a “conservative” shows up and tells us some truth.

Monkeytoe on September 10, 2013 at 8:10 AM

rrpjr on September 10, 2013 at 12:49 AM

Agreed as to the “Narrative’s content,” but the counternarrative media have done a pretty good job of exposing the administration’s bumbling (with John “Unbelievably Small” Kerry’s ever-so-helpful thundering idiocy) as well. So I’m taking the public’s (and the House’s) overwhelming opposition to a U.S. strike as signs that the Narrative is falling largely on deaf eayballs.

Barnestormer on September 10, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Awesome job, Urkel.

Maybe Nobel #2 is in your future….

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on September 10, 2013 at 8:44 AM

This bumbler president has and will continue to get people killed.

He is a public menace and should have been impeached about ten times over.

Who will step up?

No one if not Rand Paul.

C’mon man!

Sherman1864 on September 10, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Lurch brought Obama onstage for the world to see and now gives him his way out of this debacle. And Hillary is right there to capitalize. It couldn’t’ be more better planned.

HiJack on September 10, 2013 at 9:15 AM

McCain and Graham issued a statement in the past hour announcing their upcoming nuptials.

Akzed on September 10, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Surreal as it may seem after Kerry’s gaffe heard ’round the world this morning, O actually wants the public to believe tonight that he kinda sorta intended this outcome.

The old Pee Wee Herman, “I meant to do that.”

Next we’ll find Barky wacking off in a movie theater. That’s about his speed. I wonder if Carlos Danger will be with him?

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on September 10, 2013 at 9:15 AM

mnjg = nonpartisan
Hey, mnjg, do you want to talk about law school or do you have ‘to run and go get dinner’? Resist We Much on September 9, 2013 at 8:28 PM

It sure sounds similar, but it only showed up for the Syria threads. There must be some personal connection to Syria that it won’t divulge. happytobehere on September 9, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Or something else.

The first tip was not the robotic dullness, but the complete lack of humanity.

Akzed on September 10, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Vacation time.

claudius on September 10, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Follow the $$$$$$$$$$$.

Yet another story about the Islamic Pipeline and it even comes with a handy dandy map.

http://www.examiner.com/article/it-s-not-about-the-chemical-weapons-it-s-about-the-syrian-pipeline

Two years ago, Syria announced it found a promising gas field in its country, and Oil Minister Sufian Allawai said “The first wells were drilled at Qara in Homs governorate, and the flow rate is 400,000 cubic meters per day.” This is great news for Syria’s energy revenues. Besides the prospect of its own gas field, Syria is also one of the most strategic locations for natural gas pipelines to flow to Europe.

Qatar, home to the world’s largest gas field along with Iran, has proposed a gas pipeline from the Gulf to Turkey that would traverse Syria to the Mediterranean, with the gas then being shipped to Europe. Assad in 2009 refused to go along with the Qatar plan, instead inking deals with Russia and Iran.

Called the Islamic pipeline, it is set to open in 2016; in fact, Iran, Iraq and Syria signed deals in 2011 to construct the 3,480 mile natural gas pipeline that runs from Iran’s South Pars to Europe. This Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline is set to be the largest gas pipeline in the Middle East . It will snake through Iran, Iraq, Syria, South Lebanon and through the Mediterranean; in addition, the best refinery and infrastructure is in Damascus. Further talks between Iran, Syria, and Iraq for construction of the Islamic Pipeline kicked off in Baghdad today.

PappyD61 on September 9, 2013 at 8:50 PM

This needs to be repeated and amplified, repeated and amplified.

And to complicate things further, access to water in the Middle East and North Africa also has considerable implications for the regional balance of power and inter-state relations.

5% of the world’s population is in Arab countries, – so arid it has less than 1% of global water resources. Qatar, for example, has only enough water stored at any given time to sustain the country for approx. 3 days.

If you are interested, here is a map from a 2011 study showing “extreme risk” .

RushBaby on September 10, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Biden Flashback: Obama Has ‘Steel in His Spine’

Judging by the past two weeks, it’s more like cheap aluminum foil. A nice flashback from 2008.

BIDEN: Mark my words, within the next — first six months of this administration, if we win, they’re going to — we’re going to face a major international challenge, ’cause they’re going to want to test him, just like they did John Kennedy, they’re going to want to test him, and they’re going to find out this guy’s got steel in his spine.

Insty had the best line on this:

Obama does have steel in his spine — but it’s Putin’s knife.

AZCoyote on September 10, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Bmore on September 10, 2013 at 9:54 AM

If war is evaded, who cares how it happens? Oh yeah, I forgot, there are people whose only source of joy in this world is imagining that Obama is being dominated by Putin or some other powerful man. Enjoy those images then, I guess.

libfreeordie on September 10, 2013 at 10:10 AM

libfreeordie on September 10, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Translation: If America is weakened in the eyes of our enemies, what does it matter?

kingsjester on September 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Translation: If America is weakened in the eyes of our enemies, what does it matter?

kingsjester on September 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Indeed.

libfreeordie on September 10, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Just curious…
leaving aside all the spin on how this shows Obama is ‘weak’ or has diminished our ‘credibility’ –
how do folks feel about the idea of Assad’s chem weapons being turned over?
I mean…if you have a sec, maybe give that some thought.
I know it’s not as fun to play around with such silly details as the possible removal from the hands of a regime the WMDs that it has used to kill civilians…but how does that sit?
Wait…that’s right…we need to talk about if Obama cancels his televised speech…he’s gonna, like, look really bad and stuff.
(To those he never has and never will look any different anyway.)

verbaluce on September 10, 2013 at 10:50 AM

how do folks feel about the idea of Assad’s chem weapons being turned over?
 
verbaluce on September 10, 2013 at 10:50 AM

 
To the ex-KGB agent, while the American with the Nobel Peace Prize threatened an attack?
 

but how does that sit?

 
Indeed.

rogerb on September 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM

I honestly have never seen a bigger POS than this idiot. I wouldn’t allow Obama to pick up my dogs crap in the yard.

F_This on September 10, 2013 at 12:52 PM

verbaluce on September 10, 2013 at 10:50 AM

If the end result is the avoidance of America getting involved in Syria militarily, and Syria actually turns over all of its chemical weapons to someone we trust – then that is a good result.

My guess is that 1 will happen (which is still a decent result) and 2 will not (or at least, we will never really know for sure whether it happens – I’m sure some chemical weapons will be turned over for show, but all of them?).

The UN hardly has a good reputation for weapons inspections and finding all WMDs. Most likely, this will turn into an Iraq like scenario where we spend years with Syria playing games with UN inspectors (Syria will still have a motivation to make others in the region believe they possess chemical weapons).

So, if 1 and 2 do happen – bravo and despite the incompetence, Obama’s administration end with a pretty good result.

Most likely, the result will be Obama backing down from his threat to bomb Syria (a threat he should never have made) and,despite promises – no turnover of chemical weapons. Russia and Syria would have got what they wanted, make US look weak and indecisive without losing anything.

Only time will tell. this could still end up as a win for Obama. Regardless, the media/left will spin it as a win even as the rest of the world sees it as a loss for the U.S.

Ultimately, the lesson here is that Obama does not know what he is doing. The whole “red line” fiasco demonstrates that his admin is simply not competent on foreign policy. He has no foreign policy success to speak of and lots of failures. Plus, in reality he follows Bush’s plans with regard to Iraq, Afghanistan and the WOT almost completely – and those were the things the left said Bush was doing wrong and made bush a war criminal. Using the left’s logic, they should hate Obama. but of course, all the left cares about is scoring political points, not any principle.

Monkeytoe on September 10, 2013 at 3:57 PM

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