Kerry arrives in Geneva to “test” the Russians

posted at 10:41 am on September 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

CBS News’ report misses one crucial question: Did John Kerry bring another reset button? Nothing says seriousness to Sergei Lavrov like an American Secretary of State handing him a big red button labeled “Reset” — er, “Overcharge”:

Actually, we’re not even to the point of testing actual plans.  We’re only there to discuss “concepts,” one diplomat told CBS:

Intense negotiations are under way at the United Nations about the content of an agreement on Syria, and when the five permanent members of the Security Council (the U.S., U.K, France, China, Russia) sat down Wednesday, they were “walking on eggshells,” a diplomat involved in the meetings said.

“We are not going line-by-line” through the draft resolution floated by the French and outlined by their foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, the diplomat said. “We were discussing concepts, because the fundamentals have been agreed to, but how and if we get there is still very shaky.”

One “concept” on which the Russians insist is that the US renounce military strikes, an ultimatum demanded by Vladimir Putin himself after seeing the initial French draft, which he rejected.  Another — which is new, or at least hasn’t been covered by the American media to the same extent — is that we stop arming the Syrian rebels.  That might make sense, given who the rebels largely are, but it also makes sense from a standpoint of UN inspections.  If we plan to be involved with the inspection process, which one would assume we would in order to ensure its actual success, then we can hardly expect Syria to cooperate while we’re running arms to its enemies.

ABC reports that Kerry wants this to be a “deep dive” and not just a diplomatic nicety:

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived here today to weigh a potential deal on Syria’s chemical weapons. He’ll hold two, maybe even three, days of talks with his Russian counterpart on exactly how they might rid Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of his formidable stockpile.

U.S. officials insist this will be more than some high-level diplomatic meeting. Both sides are bringing a large team of experts and analysts who will hammer out exactly how the unspecified proposal would be carried out.

It will be a deep dive, with intelligence officials from both sides comparing notes about the size, scope and location of Assad’s chemical weapons depots. They’ll talk about how this work can be carried out in a war zone, what to do with precursor chemicals and delivery systems like rockets, and perhaps, most importantly, how to monitor and verify the work that is being done.

The Americans seem cautiously optimistic.

“It is doable, but difficult and complicated,” one official told reporters on the way to Geneva.

Left unasked is why the Obama administration didn’t try this first — either last month, or last year.  Call this a deep dive from the shallow end of the pool.

Bashar al-Assad announced today that he’s ready to surrender control of his chemical weapons, but only under Russian management of the process:

Mr Assad told Rossiya 24, the state-run news channel: “Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision.”

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier outlined three main phases of Moscow’s proposal:

  • Syria joins the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws the production and use of the weapons
  • Syria reveals where its chemical weapons are stored and gives details of its programme
  • Experts decide on the specific measures to be taken

Mr Lavrov, completing a visit to Kazakhstan, said: “I am sure that there is a chance for peace in Syria. We cannot let it slip away.”

He did not mention the destruction of the weapons, which is thought to be a sticking point in Moscow’s negotiations with Damascus.

CBS even holds out hope for that long-fabled, Obama-driven US-Russian “reset”:

Both Mr. Obama and Putin will send their messages to Geneva. If the negotiations find common ground, a program will begin to secure Syria’s chemical weapons. And if the U.S.- Russia “reset” finally begins, the upside could be a Geneva meeting on a transition in Syria, overall.

Don’t stop believin’ ….


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Oh, great. Another day of humiliation for the US.

Blake on September 12, 2013 at 10:44 AM

“Ich bin ein stupid.” – Kerry

22044 on September 12, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Alternate Headline:

Putin summons Obama’s envoy to the Kremlin; lays down the law.

BobMbx on September 12, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Why do I feel that John effin Kerry’s “test” will be something like, “Now we can trust you guys on this, right?”

ghostwalker1 on September 12, 2013 at 10:48 AM

“Test” the Russians? On what–math or their knowledge of physics?

These buffoons are being mocked and played. But don’t even have a clue.

Marcus Traianus on September 12, 2013 at 10:51 AM

A few hours from now we will see the footage of Kerry running from the Kremlin, his underwear wedgied up to his chest, his shirt pulled over his head, his hair sticking sopping wet from the swirlie, chased by Putin who is waving a double-barrel shotgun over his head and shouting “Come on back, boy, you got a real pretty mouth!”

Bishop on September 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Hope he brought his knee pads. It’s gonna take something special to convince the Ruskies to allow Kerry the pretense of having contributed anything but a gaffe to this venture.

ROCnPhilly on September 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

ABC reports that Kerry wants this to be a “deep dive” and not just a diplomatic nicety:

Well at least for once Kerry is being honest and stating the regime’s true goal for America in the world.

veni vidi vici on September 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

{{{GROANS}}}

OmahaConservative on September 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Putin obviously is having fun, but that’s not all he’s doing.

Realistically Syria has a big problem, and so does its patron Russia. The problem is that America habitually offers peace in return for disarmament, and after disarmament it betrays, attacks and kills its new partner for peace. Libya is the model.

Barack Obama has created a pattern that incentivizes mistrust and defiance by anyone America would like disarmed. That is his biggest blunder – far bigger than this one.

Syria really does need strong guarantees before giving up its gas, and Russia also needs to work on that, or Putin’s laughter now will turn to shame later, when America invades a disarmed Syria and Assad and his children wind up like Gaddafi and some of his children.

And of course Christians in Syria would be destroyed in that scenario – which would bother Putin. It never bothers Obama.

David Blue on September 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Mr Assad told Rossiya 24, the state-run news channel: “Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence the decision.”

LOL…

mnjg on September 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Hey, bring Bozo Biden, he can provide better gaffe’s.

jake49 on September 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM

“My predecessor had a reset button…I however have a big hammer and offer it to Russia to beat me round the head while I Deep Dive or something…” – Kerry

“Da…We Russians appreciate Hammers…” – Lavrov

workingclass artist on September 12, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Sergei Lavrov like an American Secretary of State handing him a big red button labeled “Reset” — er, “Overcharge”:

so the big red button is like the Big Red Line, right?

ted c on September 12, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Sure America’s threats influenced Syria.

The problem is, American promises can’t influence Syria, because under Obama America has no word of honor.

David Blue on September 12, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Nothing says diplomacy better than “test”.

patman77 on September 12, 2013 at 10:58 AM

A few hours from now we will see the footage of Kerry running from the Kremlin, his underwear wedgied up to his chest, his shirt pulled over his head, his hair sticking sopping wet from the swirlie, chased by Putin who is waving a double-barrel shotgun over his head and shouting “Come on back, boy, you got a real pretty mouth!”

Bishop on September 12, 2013 at 10:52 AM

“Comrades…This American custom of ‘Deep Diving’ is amusing…No?” – Kremlin

workingclass artist on September 12, 2013 at 11:01 AM

“Ich bin ein stupid.” – Kerry

22044 on September 12, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Obama made sure Kerry learned a little Austrian.

JetBoy on September 12, 2013 at 11:03 AM

test the russians, my a$$!

He’s been tested and the Russians walked all over him….

Now comes the lesson, John. You’re going to school there, bud.

ted c on September 12, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Somehow I think his face will be even longer on the trip home.

meci on September 12, 2013 at 11:04 AM

I find it patriotic to root for the Russians here in the ongoing humiliation of this administration and, by extension, America. Everyone who voted for the affirmative-action-poster-child-in-chief needs to be reprimanded for their unforgivable stupidity, and what better way than having the Russians shove it in their faces that they elected a weak-willed, lily-livered, credulous naif into office?

ex_machina on September 12, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Seen this?

http://middleburycampus.com/article/911-memorial-uprooted-in-protest/

A 2,977 flag memorial was ripped out of the ground in front of Mead Memorial Chapel shortly before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11 by a group of five protestors claiming that the flags were on top of a sacred Abenaki burial site.

Ben Hur on September 12, 2013 at 11:07 AM

These are contradictory statements. You can’t do a deep dive without going line-by-line. And to think people are skeptical about the outcome.

“We are not going line-by-line” through the draft resolution floated by the French and outlined by their foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, the diplomat said. “We were discussing concepts, because the fundamentals have been agreed to, but how and if we get there is still very shaky.”

It will be a deep dive, with intelligence officials from both sides comparing notes about the size, scope and location of Assad’s chemical weapons depots. They’ll talk about how this work can be carried out in a war zone, what to do with precursor chemicals and delivery systems like rockets, and perhaps, most importantly, how to monitor and verify the work that is being done.

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM

If we plan to be involved with the inspection process, which one would assume we would in order to ensure its actual success, then we can hardly expect Syria to cooperate while we’re running arms to its enemies.

BUT, we are supposed to continue to allow Mad Vlad (ras)Putín to call the shots – he who is an ally of ‘Baby Eye Doc’ Assad and arms him?
This isn’t “leading from behind”, it is ceding power to the Яooskees.

Call this a deep dive from the shallow end of the pool.

*chuckle* And we KNOW how that usually ends up.
King Barry takes a dive … King Barry’s credibility takes a dive too.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on September 12, 2013 at 11:14 AM

John F’n Kerry will arrive for the meeting…and as he strolls up to Mr. Lavrov, Kerry will extend his hand…

And Lavrov will simply look at him and say, “Na kaleni, suka.”

Lavrov fully understands “nuance.”

coldwarrior on September 12, 2013 at 11:16 AM

The Russians have the initiative. I doubt they’re going to give it up, especially since they know all President Obama wants now is a way out of the Syrian mess. Interminable talks on securing Syrian gas stockpiles will do the job nicely. Such talks will give the American MSM the time to sell this fiasco as a shining example of smart diplomacy prior to the 2014 midterms and allow Assad the time it takes to defeat his opponents with conventional weapons. Meanwhile, Putin gloats, knowing he just gave us a serious strategic defeat, and the mad mullahs of Iran, watching closely, know that Obama, feckless and weak, won’t do anything substantive to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear capability in about a year or so. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Longterm, I’m guessing our next president, whoever he or she will be, will be tasked with saving the country. Poor them. Poor us.

troyriser_gopftw on September 12, 2013 at 11:17 AM

A 2,977 flag memorial was ripped out of the ground in front of Mead Memorial Chapel shortly before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11 by a group of five protestors claiming that the flags were on top of a sacred Abenaki burial site.

Ben Hur on September 12, 2013 at 11:07 AM

The purported reason doesn’t synch with what the President of the College Republicans says-

Kinney said the protestors told him they were “confiscating” the flags in protest of “America’s imperialism.”

These squirrels don’t even have a clue what they are protesting for.

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Test the Russians? And if they fail the test what’s the response? Putin knows that the Administration is entirely dependent on him. They have no alternative.

Assad with major support from Putin has killed more than 100,000 Syrians including women and children. Gassed them, shot them, tortured them.

And at the end of this Putin is viewed as the peacemaker and the US – not just Obama – is viewed as the aggressor.

To arrive at this takes a level of incompetence by this Administration that rivals that of any predecessor.

SteveMG on September 12, 2013 at 11:18 AM

ex_machina on September 12, 2013 at 11:04 AM

I completely agree. Obama is too old, stubborn and stupid to learn from his mistakes. (Of course, his ego is such that he may not even be aware that he’s making mistakes.) For the long-term benefit of the country, I am rooting for the Russians to further embarrass him. His Pollyanish, naive worldview belongs nowhere near the presidency.

crrr6 on September 12, 2013 at 11:21 AM

I would think that the Russians would understand our current predicament very well….the did invent the Potemkin village.

ElectricPhase on September 12, 2013 at 11:21 AM

I find it patriotic to root for the Russians here in the ongoing humiliation of this administration and, by extension, America.

ex_machina on September 12, 2013 at 11:04 AM

‘Patriotic’? I don’t think that word means what you think it means. Rooting for ruthless dicators because you think our country is deserving of a comeuppance is despicable.

troyriser_gopftw on September 12, 2013 at 11:23 AM

SteveMG on September 12, 2013 at 11:18 AM

The only quibble I have with your excellent summation is simple.

Assad has not killed over 100,000 Syrians. Not in this current civil war. The MSM keeps saying that Assad has murdered over 100,000. So do a lot of pundits and wonks.

Such ignores the fact that the jihadis have not been solely relying on gentle persuasion in their attempt to overthrow Assad, or to gain control of villges and towns, or the local populace.

Ball park figure?

I’d go with about 50-50 on the killing…jihadis and Assad.

coldwarrior on September 12, 2013 at 11:25 AM

A 2,977 flag memorial was ripped out of the ground in front of Mead Memorial Chapel shortly before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11 by a group of five protestors claiming that the flags were on top of a sacred Abenaki burial site.

Ben Hur on September 12, 2013 at 11:07 AM

The purported reason doesn’t synch with what the President of the College Republicans says-

Kinney said the protestors told him they were “confiscating” the flags in protest of “America’s imperialism.”

These squirrels don’t even have a clue what they are protesting for.

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 11:17 AM

“Because I got this waay kool Protest Anything America app on my free Obamaphone and besides…BONG!” – average american liberal college student

workingclass artist on September 12, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Why do I feel that John effin Kerry’s “test” will be something like, “Now we can trust you guys on this, right?”

ghostwalker1 on September 12, 2013 at 10:48 AM

I wouldn’t be surprised if he rambles and says something like that in public. But more fawningly. And Putin responds by thanking Kerry, but reluctantly taking more responsibility for events in the Middle East, at the request of the US.

Fenris on September 12, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Lurch is so full of himself that he doesn’t even realize he’s being played like a fiddle… on both sides. Putin pulls his strings while Barry pulls the rug from under him.

But no one more richly deserves to be made to look the fool than this pompous n’er-do-well twit.

petefrt on September 12, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Throw your medals at him Kerry . . . that’s always good for a little attention.

rplat on September 12, 2013 at 11:32 AM

John F’n Kerry will arrive for the meeting…and as he strolls up to Mr. Lavrov, Kerry will extend his hand…

And Lavrov will simply look at him and say, “Na kaleni, suka.”

Lavrov fully understands “nuance.”

coldwarrior on September 12, 2013 at 11:16 AM

I think it would be fun if Lavrov insisted that Kerry wear bunny ears for all official conferences and statements to the press. Kerry would not be in a position to say nyet. Russia is calling all the shots here if the thin-skinned rat is to have his lifeline out of the quagmire of his own making by drawing red lines.

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Assad has not killed over 100,000 Syrians. Not in this current civil war.

Okay, I stand corrected. More than 100,000 have died in the war. Both sides have done their share of killing.

But he’s ruthlessly killed a lot of people. As, of course, have the rebels. No doubt that there aren’t any “good” guys in this.

My major point, I think, still stands: We look, to the world, like the aggressor and Putin looks like the peacemaker.

That’s bizarre.

SteveMG on September 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Rooting for ruthless dicators because you think our country is deserving of a comeuppance is despicable.

I’m rooting for a ruthless dictator because our ruthless dictator–and the people who put him into power–are deserving of a comeuppance. Loving one’s country sometimes requires hating one’s government.

ex_machina on September 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

That’s bizarre.

SteveMG on September 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Yes, it truly is.

How bizarre.

Brother Barry’s in the back, Samantha’s in the front, cruising down the freeway in the hot, hot sun.

Oh, baby, it’s making me crazy…

How bizarre.

:-)

coldwarrior on September 12, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Loving one’s country sometimes requires hating one’s government.

ex_machina on September 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Patriotism has absolutely nothing to do with the love or hate of one’s government. The state (government) is not the same thing as the country. Southern Slavs were consolidated into a state called Yugoslavia but that didn’t eliminate geographic and ethnic allegiences.

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 11:51 AM

The Laurel and Hardy Presidency: After the Syrian slapstick, it’s time to sober up U.S. foreign policy.

Resist We Much on September 12, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Daniel Henninger and the WSJ, no less.

Ouch, this has gotta leave a mark.

petefrt on September 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM

My major point, I think, still stands: We look, to the world, like the aggressor and Putin looks like the peacemaker.

That’s bizarre.

SteveMG on September 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Putin wasn’t putting all that political capital on the line to get authorization to unilaterally bomb Syria. The United States looked like an aggressor because in this case it was. All because a stupid lazy President was too cool to pay attention to diplomacy and international affairs. He likes attending “summits” but he doesn’t have a clue about the heavy lifting behind the photo-ops, fancy dinners, and class photos of world leaders.

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Loving one’s country sometimes requires hating one’s government.

ex_machina on September 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Patriotism has absolutely nothing to do with the love or hate of one’s government. The state (government) is not the same thing as the country.

Happy Nomad on September 12, 2013 at 11:51 AM

+100

petefrt on September 12, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Rooting for ruthless dicators because you think our country is deserving of a comeuppance is despicable.

troyriser_gopftw on September 12, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Rooting for?

Comeuppance?

So long as there are those who will forgive Obama anything and everything because, you know, is not patriotic to call him out when he screws up royally…we will nindeed see a major comeuppance…if not more.

Our country right or wrong, that sort of thinking is dishonest in all aspects.

And not that long ago the voices of doom were telling us that “dissent is patriotic” as they tried to paint all number of petty dictators and outright thugs as misunderstood, and we had to talk with them “without preconditions” as Obama famously said…because we have to see their side…understand them…we were acting stupidly…

I admire, respect, Putin. Not because I want to see the Nation falter, but because I do not.

If the response to Putin is constantly he is just a commie, one of the former KGB thugs…we can dismiss him cuz’ we’re ‘Merica…

Well, we will lose….and so will millions of innocents along the way.

If we cannot deal honestly with a “threat” or with our own leadership…or with such esoteric concepts as worldwide jihad and the coming Caliphate, or maybe not arming “rebels” simply because they don’t like the guy we do not like…even when this current Administration was inviting that guy to love feasts all over the place just a few short months ago…he is a reformer and educated, and his wife is just sooo charming…

The sole despicable character in this “comeuppance” is found residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

And his minions and shills are doing the United States of America no favors.

coldwarrior on September 12, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Putin achieved what the domestic and int’l media refused to do – expose obama to his real size.

Suffocate in his azz, most all media. YOU deserve no less and the world/USA are diminished because of your Utopian PC insanities. I hope you all will be destroyed.

Schadenfreude on September 12, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Laurel & Hardy

Schadenfreude on September 12, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Daniel 5:25: “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”

Kerry testing the Russians is like my kid’s t-ball team testing the Yankees.

windbag on September 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Assad has not killed over 100,000 Syrians. Not in this current civil war.

Okay, I stand corrected. More than 100,000 have died in the war. Both sides have done their share of killing.

But he’s ruthlessly killed a lot of people. As, of course, have the rebels. No doubt that there aren’t any “good” guys in this.

My major point, I think, still stands: We look, to the world, like the aggressor and Putin looks like the peacemaker.

That’s bizarre.

SteveMG on September 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

All things considered, a victory by Assad will result in fewer deaths than a victory by the rebels, who are already fighting among themselves.

A victory by the rebels will result in far, far more than 100,000 dead. It will look more like Rwanda, or Rwanda X 4. This c-war is really a tribal war in a country with artificial borders.

slickwillie2001 on September 12, 2013 at 12:22 PM

This whole thing reminds me of George Foreman beating the hell out of Leon Spinks.

Just pushed him into a corner and wailed away.

BobMbx on September 12, 2013 at 12:24 PM

This whole thing reminds me of George Foreman beating the hell out of Leon Spinks.

Just pushed him into a corner and wailed away.

BobMbx on September 12, 2013 at 12:24 PM

How long until he becomes Roberto Duran, too embarrassed to show his face to the press, and saying “no mas”.

Fenris on September 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Lurch will be lucky to leave with his pants still on.

GarandFan on September 12, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Kerry to Russian counterpart: Thank you Sir can I have another…

sandee on September 12, 2013 at 1:24 PM

They’ve already tested us.

.
And we’ve been found wanting..

Simonsez on September 12, 2013 at 1:59 PM

If Kerry really wanted to “test” the Russians, he would tell them “Tell me what Ed Snowden told you, and we won’t bomb Syria”.

But Kerry doesn’t have the cojones for that. Must have been the Vietcong that electrocuted them.

Steve Z on September 12, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Kerry arrives in Geneva to “test” the Russians

Apparently, Putin has ordered Kerry to Geneva for a refresher course in bending over and ankle-grabbing.

landlines on September 12, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Lurch couldn’t test tosterone.

StevC on September 12, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Kerry arrives in Geneva to “test” the Russians

You misspelled ‘taste’.

mrt721 on September 12, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Kerry (to Obama) “When I get there, I’ll hit Putin with the old finger in ear, tongue in cheek routine. They’ll never see it coming”

Obama “No, these guys are good. Go straight to the “pull my finger” option”

WryTrvllr on September 13, 2013 at 4:39 AM