Interesting that the press cynics are taking the line, once they’ve got over the concept that Russia may be sincere, is that securing Syria’s chemical weapons might not be “feasible” anyway. Mad thinking. If it weren’t feasible to locate (most of) them with any (reasonable) certainty, then how would any kind of targeted strike have been any more feasible, without significant risk of accidentally releasing them in collateral damage. Keeping stockpiles, like civilians, near likely targets would have been Syria’s greatest deterrent.
Anyway, full marks to France, Russia, and now UK & US falling into line, in taking the “securing and removing / disposing of the chemical weapons” proposal to the UN. Gaffe? How dumb do the press think international diplomats are? The politicians may says things off agreed scripts, but the ideas will be in real discussions. It’s win, win, win, win, lose, win. As good as it gets.
Putin gets to be the hero.
France gets to repair relations with US.
US and UK get their objectives, both moral and self-interested, without needing to take credit (or responsibility for the consequences).
The plan gets proper UN airing, even if debate can never reach reach unanimous agreement, allied majority is seen to have done right thing before attempting tough action. Being hard to achieve doesn’t make it wrong.
Syria gets message, takes note and makes public statement (and actions) of its responsibilities to comply.
World gets action with minimal WW3 risk, but can escalate if cooperation stalls or mission fails.
UK and US (and France) were right to (a) threaten a forcible strike against Assad’s use of chemical weapons, and (b) right to try to get government buy-in to exercise that right – both of which are quite separate from the actual order to act, if and when needed. Even talking softly, the diplomats need their governments to carry a big stick, one that will actually be used if attention to responsibilities waivers.
PS – John Humphreys is past his sell-by date on BBC R4 Today. Just not up to “grown-up” politics and 21st century living.