The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday offered a harsh assessment of President Barack Obama's embrace of a proposal by Russia for international monitors to seize and destroy Syria's supply of chemical weapons, saying he should have rejected it outright.
"What could be worse for America's standing in the world than a Congress refusing to support a President's proposal for military action against a rogue regime that used WMD [weapons of mass destruction]?" the paper said in an editorial.
"Here's one idea: a U.S. president letting that rogue be rescued from military punishment by the country that has protected the rogue all along."
Obama's support for the Russian proposal may allow him and Congress to escape the political pain of a vote to authorize the use of force against Syria, Journal editors said. But they added, "The diplomatic souk is now open, and Mr. Obama has turned himself into one of the junior camel traders."
"The White House should have rebuffed the offer given Russia's long protection of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad at the United Nations," the editorial continued
Pointing to reports that Russia is opposed to drafting a U.N. resolution that would blame the Syrian government for using chemical weapons, the editorial says, "Fiasco is too kind [a description] for this spectacle. Russia has publicly supported Assad's denials that he used sarin gas, but we are now supposed to believe it will thoroughly scrub Syria of those weapons."
The Journal went on to say that even if it's possible to pull off the Russian deal ending in the collection of all of Assad's chemical weapons, the dictator will still "emerge without punishment for having used chemical weapons."
In addition, he won't have to worry about future military opposition from the United States or its allies, the editorial continued, because "Mr. Obama won't risk another ramp-up to war given the opposition at home and abroad to this effort."
In conclusion, the Journal quoted a British commentator describing Monday's disclosure of a possible Russian deal as a solution to the crisis as "the worst day for U.S. and wider Western diplomacy since records began."
"That's only a mild exaggeration," the Journal said. "A weak and inconstant U.S. President has been maneuvered by America's enemies into claiming that a defeat for his Syria policy is really a triumph."
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