Putin may have just punked the Teaparty


Update 2: Syria just announced they will sign the agreement and join the chemical weapons ban treaty. It’s all over but the details now folks. Call it eleventy-billion dimensional chess or dumb luck, but Obama just scored the biggest foreign policy victory since Geronimo was shot in the head by acting tough while Teaparty Republicans joined liberal wimps.

Update: Senate is said to be drafting new authorization proposal tailored to latest developments that has bipartisan support.

Yesterday events moved fast as Russian diplomats announced the outlines of a possible deal to store and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, a move which would avert a US military strike. This evening President Obama will make his case before the American people, tea leaves say the WH will not waiver in the need to brandish a credible military threat to encourage Syria to comply. Early this morning US time, Syria appeared to accept the proposal in principle. All well and good, every one is happy! Except of course … the right is facing a huge problem: America may have prevailed and the world may end up a tiny bit safer without the US having to fire a single shot. First overnight developments:

NBC News — Syria confirmed it would accept a Russian-brokered proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control Tuesday, just hours after France announced it would seek a U.N. Security Council resolution seeking a similar plan.

Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told Russia’s lower parliament that Damascus had agreed to the plan in order to “remove the grounds for American aggression,” according to a report by the Interfax state news agency. … The comments added to the international momentum behind the proposal, which has already been endorsed by Iran and China and cautiously welcomed by Britain, France and Germany.

Why would a peaceful solution hailed by the entire world as a positive breakthrough be a problem for the usual suspects? Because a big foreign policy victory for the US and the world would be a big foreign policy victory for Obama. Which means it’s a giant letdown for Teaparty Republicans who thought for sure taking the risk of playing dove would pay dividends. It really is that simple. They desperately need this to fall through and, just in case it doesn’t, they’ll have to try and cook up an angle that somehow makes them look good. Which is a damn near impossible task at this point.

Consider that if Obama had not been a hard-ass on this, the Teaparty would have demanded military action in Syria while gleefully calling him the appeaser-in-chief. But the President did go full hawk, which meant the Teaparty had to take the opposite dovish position against the hated black President. By doing so they strained their own party, split with the traditional warmongers, and were forced to side with the liberal base. That was not a comfortable place at all, but they thought it would work to their advantage. Now they might end up looking foolish and having to hope and pray for US failure. How to play it?

There is no play, if this deal goes through they’re fucked. Getting Syria to turn over their CW in the middle of a brutal civil war would be a bigger foreign policy success as far as the world is concerned than hitting bin Laden.

Sometimes there’s an inherent advantage in being smart when it comes down to crunch time, especially when dealing with other nations where willful stupidity is not considered a valuable asset. And there’s times even in US politics where being stupid is a disadvantage; that’s where the Teaparty finds themselves right now. They don’t know, they literally have no idea what to do. About the only angle of attack they’ve come up with so far is a vague, lame grab-fest that Putin is coming to Obama’s rescue and we should be careful, the latter of which everyone agrees with.

Reading wingnut sites this morning you can tell they’re worried they just got punked and punked hard. And that’s about the only thing they may be right about in the end.


  1. David Marjanović says

    Nelson Muntz is biking by in the rain, stops, points at the Tea Party, says HA-HA!, and bikes on.

    (…The official spelling is HAW HAW. I have no idea why.)

  2. DonDueed says

    The teapickers can just do a complete about-face again. “How do we know he really turned over ALL his CWs? We need to hit him hard to make sure! Why isn’t our commie fascist atheist muslim President doing that?”

    It would hardly be the first time they did the doublethink/doublespeak trick. Oh Orwell, why did you have to be so right?

    Is there anybody in current political circles who holds to a principled position?

  3. brucegee1962 says

    So who comes out ahead?

    Obama: This one’s obvious. He gets to have his cake and eat it too, avoiding the specter of falling down spectacularly in Congress in front of the whole world, while simultaneously claiming his tough stance produced results.

    Putin and France: They get to look like the grown-up statesmen in the room, which must feel nice.

    Assad: I’m sure it feels pretty windy and exposed as an embattled dictator, and even though he’d probably sail through it, nobody likes to see their country bombed by a foreign power with no real way to retaliate. He loses a little bit of face, but saves a lot of material and personnel, and it isn’t as if the Russians aren’t going to keep giving him conventional weapons to blow up his own people with. Plus of course he’ll have a few chemical weapons tucked away for a rainy day — and everyone will know it, or at least suspect it, which is pretty much the point of having them in the first place.

    Kerry: I heard a new phrase on the radio today: “Gaffing up.” I guess if a gaffe is when a politician speaks the truth by accident, then gaffing up is when you look like a statesman by accident. This could be the first world conflict that is entered by an off-the-cuff statement and exited the same way.

    The UN: “Yay, we actually accomplished something! We even managed to make the world a slightly safer place! Maybe the world will decide to let us hang around for another decade or so!”

    The American People: Because for the next election cycle, we get to be entertained by politicians doing the maneuver that will be dubbed the “Syria Splits,” where they simultaneously try to take credit for the disarmament at the same time they swear they would never, ever have voted to allow military force.

    So it looks like the only real losers besides the Tea Party are the Syrian rebels, once again. But hey, if even the Egyptian rebels don’t want anything to do with them, maybe it really is true that their only friends in the whole world are Al Qaida.

  4. grumpyoldfart says

    So let me guess: No punishment for the Syrian Government and a secretive OK from the rest of the world that Syrian citizens can be “disappeared” until they finally shut their yaps and stop all this crazy talk about freedom.

  5. dickspringer says

    I think the “gaffe” was part of a somewhat choreographed script. I don’t see how the pieces could have fallen into place so neatly otherwise. This way both Obama and the Russians win. Clearly the Russians, with their Islamist problem at home, don’t want a lot of sarin in Islamist hands floating around.


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