Perhaps if John Kerry hadn't been so damned public in his determined outrage, this purring aftermath wouldn't seem so jarring.
Dateline, Aug. 30, ABC News headline: Syria Must Be Punished as Warning to Others, Kerry Says. Then a video, captioned: "John Kerry Makes Case for Punishing Syria." Then the lede: "Secretary of State John Kerry made an impassioned case for punishing Syria today"; and a tertiary lede, "the world anticipates a barrage of punishing missiles to hit the Syrian regime."
Dateline, today, Sept. 14, the NY Times:
The United States and Russia have reached an agreement that calls for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed....
Under a "framework" agreement, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November.... In addition, Syria must submit a "comprehensive listing" of its chemical weapons stockpiles within a week.
And poof, just like that, gone is half of the Obama administration's Syria policy objectives, as so publicly thundered by Kerry a mere two weeks ago: We absolutely must punish that butchering murdering thug of a slaughtering dictator for his past act of "moral obscenity," as well as "deter and degrade" his capacity for repeating it.
Says the calmed, contemporary Kerry, "The world will now expect Assad's regime to live up to its commitments."
I don't find this at all funny, but that's laughable. According to Mr. Kerry himself on a good day Bashar al-Assad is Saddam Hussein, and on a bad day he's Hitler, remember? Yet on this day the world should expect that this bloody despot will live up to his commitments? And all without even being punished, which yesterday was uncompromisingly essential?
Having been opposed to unilateral airstrikes, I am of course delighted the administration's self-disagreements have come down to the events of this day. They would have gone down much easier, however, had John Kerry just been a little less public in his determined outrage--which is embarrassingly incommensurate with its consequences.