The polls have not been kind to Barack Obama lately, but the President seems to think he’s pulled off at least one improbable policy triumph this fall: disarming Syria’s Bashar Assad of his chemical weapons. It’s an overstated victory that comes at an underappreciated price.
Overstated, because even as Damascus makes a show of handing over its entire chemical arsenal for destruction, U.S. intelligence believes the regime continues to hide weapons from international inspectors. Even if Assad is handing over the entire arsenal, he can always purchase new stocks of these weapons from North Korea, which maintains a robust chemical weapons complex. All he needs to do is hold on to power.