WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

U.S.--Russia--Syria: Accidental diplomacy?

Who could have predicted - only 48 hours ago - that the Russians might hand the Obama Administration a lifeline to avoid a humiliating repudiation in Congress?

And to all the members of Congress (i.e., Delaware's Chris Coons) who jumped way ahead of the public in favoring decisive military intervention, only to be left twisting in the wind?

Not that Russian President Vladimir Putin necessarily intended to bail out President Obama and some members of Congress.

It was all in line with Russia, and formerly the Soviet Union's, decades-long embrace of the Assads.

But it came at a convenient time... as the Obama Administration appeared to be LOSING votes on Capitol Hill, not only in the House of Representatives but even in the Senate.

And more and more, this appears to have been the result NOT of a trial balloon from Secretary of State Kerry, but just a throw-away comment from the Secretary of State and former Democratic Presidential nominee, eagerly seized upon by the Russians.

(Although some Russian media sources suggest the broad outlines for such a deal might have been worked out during a face-to-face, behind-the-scenes meeting between Presidents Obama and Putin during the G20 summit last week in St. Petersburg.)

Read between the lines of this statement from Senator Chris Coons (D-DE):

"Credible pressure from the United States helped draw out Russia's proposal to work with the international community to remove Assad's chemical weapons stockpile from Syria. If genuine, the Russian proposal represents a welcome change from its policy of supporting and supplying arms to Syria. The world cannot afford for the Assad regime to continue using its arsenal of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, nor for them to be used against our allies in the region. It is my hope that this proposal signals Russia's willingness to take constructive responsibility for ending the threat posed by Assad's chemical weapons, and I will work with my colleages this week to craft a path forward that allows both diplomacy and continued pressure."

Note that phrase in the first line of the Coons' statement:
"Credible pressure from the United States...' That will most certainly be the Obama Administration's line - certainly to be repeated by President Obama tonight during his nationally televised address.

Make no mistake: Although Syria has accepted the Russian plan - and the Obama Administration signals it's ready to "explore" it - the entire thing could still collapse.

From POLITICO.com: "Obama's accidental diplomacy"...


The anti-war blogger, David Swanson, posted a delicious column. (By the way, Swanson has ties to Delaware: His mother went to Brandywine High School her senior year; her younger siblings behind her. His grandparents, aunts, and uncles all lived in the Wilmington area.)


An interesting article from NATIONAL JOURNAL:

"Jewish Lawmakers Under Pressure on Syria"...


Posted at 9:08am on September 10, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 9:59am
Charles Krauthammer sums up this latest policy change well...Russia wins.

"The Russians clearly, immediately saw that this enabled them to achieve their two objectives. Keep Assad in power. After all, if we're going to have negotiations, we have to essentially recognize Assad. It's not that Assad has to go; he's the guy that's going to have to provide the protection for any inspectors, locate the sites; he's going to have to be in there. He's going to be a negotiating element in this. He will remain in power and the Russians are going to have their air base, the naval base, everything that they have.

And for the Russians who worry about their own Muslim -- unrest in the Muslim republics like Chechnya‎, the idea of the jihadists in the rebellion in Syria getting hold of chemical weapons is a nightmare. So, if you remove the weapons and you keep Assad in power, the Russians have achieved everything that Russia wants.

Obama's has seized on this because it's the only way he saves face. That's a high price to pay, but I assure you he will seize that. It will be his policy as of now and as of his speech tomorrow night."


I still think we need to find out what happened in Benghazi last year and find how Benghazi ties-in with Syrian rebels.

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 10:04am
This is pathetic. President Putin offers a serious proposal to improve the Syrian weapons debate. So Senator Coons and White House sources spin the Russian initiative. It just has to be the result of an American-led negotiation.

Mr. Coons and the Administration feel the need to spin the topic as being all about Obama. Mr. Obama needs to learn quickly that the world does not revolve around him.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Sep 10, 2013 10:21am
JimH: Well said.

EarlGrey: Thanks for sharing the Krauthammer commentary. As usual, he nails it.

Obama and company are minor-leaguers and hopefully this Russian plan works for all.

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 11:18am
David Swanson's piece has some smitten truth behind it...

"Inspectors are very good. That's why President George W. Bush wanted them pulled out of Iraq, where they had done a stellar job and the weaponry had been eliminated. That could conceivably also be why President Barack Obama wanted them kept away from the site of the August 21st attack and wanted to send missiles into Syria before the inspectors reached any results."

He further states that public pressure needs to intensify now, that a solution is in sight, and not retract.... Have all of you called, or e-mailed your delegates to remind them they you too are a person, and what you think, matters?

Now is the time if you have not already... just decided to add this at the last minute as a public service to all readers...

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) iPhone: 202-224-2441 Fax: 202-228-2190


Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE) iPhone: 202-224-5042 Fax: 202-228-3075


Representative John Carney (D – Delaware At-Large) iPhone: 202-225-4165 Fax: 202-225-2291


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 11:49pm
I was laughing at the title of this post... for there are no accidents in diplomacy... Meaning accidents happen all the time, but are grasped and utilized when favorable, so no one ever admits to it being anything less than a planned event the whole time...

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Sep 11, 2013 8:26am
With our focus being solely on Syria and Obama's plan to start another war in the Middle East [and now being in a waiting game] I thought we could take a break from it as I found this article by Pat Buchannan who offers some insight about how fractured the GOP is, and some insight on some of the issues plaguing the GOP.

He offers, in my opinion, some common-sense reality for the GOP. My question is, will the GOP - especially the TEA branch of the GOP - be smart enough to hear and do what Buchannan suggests? Or will they, by their actions this fall, help the DEMS keep control of the Senate [in 2014] and possibly the White House [in 2016]. Agree with Pat or not, one thing about him is he offers reasons for his views. I think he's spot on the mark on this topic.

One observation Buchannan makes is: ".....the GOP insurgents are threatening to shut down the government on Oct. 1 if the stopgap funding bill contains money for Obamacare. This is nuts. The president will never sign a bill defunding the singular achievement of his presidency. Especially when he has control of the Senate. Especially when, though a narrow 51 percent majority of Americans disapproves of Obamacare, only 36 percent favors repeal........."

Buchannan asks, how many times must the GOP learn the lesson that you can’t govern the nation from one house of Congress? His point is the GOP needs to win back the Senate and the Presidency.


Wed, Sep 11, 2013 9:13am
The rest of the world (especially those responsible) remember 9-11-2001...do we?

The president didn't even bother to mention this act of terror last night as he addressed the nation for 16 minutes nor did he honor the heroes who rose to the event in our country's history. What the hell?

I didn't agree with everything GW Bush did as president but I respected that man...I miss GW.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Sep 11, 2013 10:42am
EarlGrey: I agree that we should never forget 9/11.

Sad thing is GW [Little Bush] did a lousy job in how he handled it. Rather than focus on getting bin Laden, he dragged us into Iraq which had nothing at all to do with the attacks of 9/11, and into Afganistad for two long wars that have cost many American and Arab lives, plus Trillions of American dollars, and neither war has accomplished much of anything.

Neither nation is more stable, because of us being there, and the hatred for America is greater now in the Arab world, which is difficult to picture, but Bush's wars managed to do that. Iraq's society is in shambles; they get electricity for a few hours a day with no infrastructure repairs, much violence in the streets, etc., etc., vs. when Saddam was there. We had no business there. Papa Bush warned Jr. to NOT to invade Iraq. Papa Bush was correct.

What GW should have done was not to start a war, but instead what ended up being how we finally did get bin Laden. We gathered intel that said where bin Laden was holed-up and send a small elite Seal/Ranger/type group there to get him and then get out quick. I remember quipping on my radio show back then that Bush should hire some of "Uncle Vito's boys" to go and make a hit on bin Laden. Essentially that is what we did, just the military version of that scenario.

So no I don't miss Bush Jr. I wish him well in retirement, but am glad he's not our Prez, nor Dick Cheney.

I do remember our fallen Americans and mourn our loss, just as I still do for 11/22/63 the day JFK was assasinated, and also do reflect on 12/07/41 Pearl Harbor [I wasn't living then, so the emotions aren't there for me as they are for JFK and 9/11].

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 11:55am
Breaking news... on Syria


Wed, Sep 11, 2013 11:58am
Mike: As I said I didn't agree with everything GW did...but I do still respect the man.

It sickens me this prez went on national TV to gain support and justify why our country should help Al-Qaeda in Syria on 9-10-2013...one day before the 9-11-2001 anniversary of AlQaeda's attack on our country and one day before the 9-11-2012 anniversary of pro-Al-Qaeda Islamists'attack in Benghazi. Why were no missiles dropped on Benghazi and why no outrage over the death of our ambassador and three others? Instead we were fed lies...which is why so many are skeptical of everything this admin tells us.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Sep 11, 2013 1:23pm
EarlGrey: I agree totally with what you just said about Obama.

My guess is, you do not respect Jimmy Carter, yet he too is a brother in the Lord [both Carter and Bush Jr claim Christ as Lord and Savior].

I didn't agree with Carter on many things, but I gained respect for him more so AFTER he left the White House. Bush Jr hasn't done much since vacating 1600 PA Ave, so can't say much on that account. I believe Jr's a decent man, I don't dislike him [on one level Bush Jr's very likeable]; but find it difficult to respect him as he came across to my ear so often during his 2 terms as an arrogant rich kid, who had the attitude of you do it my way or you're not a patriotic American. So no I don't respect him, because he did much damage to our nation in many ways.

Sadly Bush was the best choice between Al Gore and later John Kerry. So in that sense, I guess I respect Jr more than Gore or Kerry, but that ain't sayin' much.

The office of Prez I respect, no matter who's in the White House.

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 4:13pm
Ok, let me see if I get this right: It's "accidental diplomacy" because the President never had a diplomatic conversation about Syria turning over its chemical weapons to a U.N. delegation, but that concept was a throw-away line from Kerry? So this administration's "diplomacy" is to bomb first, and ask questions later?

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 10:15pm
Arther: Exactly. And mark it here. During 2016 you will hear how this administration was able to get Assad to dispose of all his chemical weapons... rough guess, 120 times it will get mentioned in the quadrennial Convention?

But like every American, I feel this option is still better than bombing Syria, so I'll take it. However it came... In my opinion, it was God's answer to the entire world's prayers... Because only He could have arranged this convoluted pathway it took... Gotta love it.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Sep 12, 2013 8:20am
Kavips: I agree that this may indeed be answered prayer as most of us, probably worldwide, prefer this solution to the bomb them scenario.

It just seems strange that the Obama administration is NOW going to try to claim this was their plan. Heaven forbid, the actual idea came from the Russians.

However, it also isn't beyond the realms of possibilities that maybe Obama and Putin had set up this 'drama' as a way to convince Assad to voluntarily turn over his WMD's.

But I would have thought that the administration would have kept that under their hats rather than going for the quick atta-boy they now seem to be seeking and making it look like Putin was their puppet [he's got just as big of an Ego as Obama].

Besides that, if Assad now believes he's been "played" by Obama and Putin, might he decide to not be so cooperative? I watched the Charlie Rose interview on PBS the other night and he too has an Ego and doesn't want the US nor the Russians pushing him around. People in power kind of are wired that way.

My gut tells me Kerry's comment might have been a wishful thought tossed out, [a throw away line] if nothing came of it, no problem, we'll still bomb them, no embarassment to the Prez.

Unless Kerry and Obama had found out via their spies that Russia was thinking about such an idea and then tossed out that throw away line in hopes the Russians would pick up on it and then jump on it as a way of Obama saving face [again the Ego's of these folks in power].

I believe that Obama and Company, now trumpeting it as THEIR idea, seems to me to be the wrong thing to do.

But bottom line though, if this plan works and we avoid bombing, another stupid war, the loss of more American and Arab lives, and the US spending Trillions more that we don't have to spend for things that benefit people much less for a stupid war that kills and hurts folks, then the world will breathe a sigh of relief that for once, they did the right thing.

Kavips, I'll give Obama more credit than Bush Jr though, because Obama was at least willing to give this a try. My guess is, Little Bush, the rich kid who probably got beat up on the playground, who seemed to need to show everyone how tough he was, while Prez, probably would have said, NO, we're bombing them anyway, right Dick? [Referring to VP Dick Chaney who probably was pulling Jr's strings]. Bush probably would have ranted in a Press Conference to Putin: You're either with the US or you're against the US. Mr Putin, do we have to stop drinking Freedom Vodka in the US???

Thu, Sep 12, 2013 12:39pm
I'll agree that running for the cameras screaming it was our idea is very unbecoming. However, I don't think it will benefit anyone because the truth is already been spoken... Every attempt to claim credit is adding a lie upon a lie...

I don't think it is worth contesting, such as when one's spouse is talking to her friends and taking full credit for making you into a better person. It's best not to say anything, maybe wink, or roll your eyes when she can't see to show you don't agree, but it is definitely not worth the damage you would cause by trying to correct her words in front of her.. WWIII lol.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Sep 12, 2013 1:08pm
Kavips: Well said, and good analogy.

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