Breaking: Climbdown complete -- Obama agrees to UN debate on Putin plan

Just a day ago, Barack Obama planned to lay out his case for taking military action against Syria in a prime-time address this evening.  Instead, he’ll have to explain why he’s suddenly interested in the United Nations track, which his administration disparaged just last week as “hocus pocus” and “paralyzed.”


Smart power!

Suddenly, it seems that the White House is more interested in diplomacy than shooting missiles at Damascus:

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday that diplomacy, rather than military action, is the priority on Syria now, U.S. Representative Gene Green said.

“We’re going to wait and see how this offering” for securing Syria’s chemical-weapons arsenal plays out, Green told Reuters as he left a briefing by McDonough for House Democrats.

What does that mean for tonight’s speech?  Inquiring minds want to know:

Jennifer Rubin has an idea:

Maybe, the president should start his remarks by saying, “You can forget just about everything I’ve said up until now . . . ” But then again no one really believes much of anything he has to say these days.

It’s the Emily Litella strategy:

Smart power.

Update: More from the AP via HuffPo:


A White House official says President Barack Obama has agreed to discussions at the United Nations Security Council on a proposal from Russia to secure Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

The official says Obama discussed the proposal Tuesday with French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH’ oh-LAWND’) and British Prime Minister David Cameron. France’s foreign minister says France will float a resolution in the U.N. Security Council aimed at forcing Syria to make public its chemical weapons program, place it under international control and dismantle it.

Russia arranges it, France proposes it, and … we lead from behind.  Brilliant, I tell you, brilliant.

Update: A couple of thoughts I shared on Twitter:

So much for Munich moments.  And hey, peace in our time, or something.

Update: More from Will Cain:



Update: One or two commenters seem a little lost on my sarcasm over the Munich comments. I’ve argued all along that the Syria crisis is no Munich, and that the claims from Kerry and the Obama administration that it’s analogous to 1938 were historically ignorant and hyperbolic.  However, if they really believed it, then walking away with a rather dubious and practically unenforceable agreement as a resolution is almost a perfect repetition of it. (Don’t forget that Hitler ally Benito Mussolini was the guarantor of the Munich agreement, paralleling Putin’s role here.) It’s just missing Neville Chamberlain’s umbrella.

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