Secretary of State John Kerry made a "forward fumble" with his off-hand suggestion that Syria could put its chemical weapons under international control, says conservative pundit Pat Buchanan.
Asked at a London press conference on Monday if anything could be done to avert the United States bombing Syria over its use of chemical weapons on civilians, Kerry replied that Syrian President Bashar Assad "could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. But he isn't about to do it, and it can't be done."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took the idea seriously, and made the proposal official. Syria responded positively to the plan, as did the White House and Congress just as a vote was looming on Capitol Hill that was likely to reject Obama's request for approval of action.
Critics and friends alike say Obama boxed himself into a corner a year ago with his own off-the-cuff remark that if Syria used chemical weapons in its civil war it would cross a red line demanding a rethinking of American involvement.
What some called a gaffe by Kerry threw a possible lifeline to Obama as he wrestles with an American public and Congress deeply cynical of the repercussions of even a limited missile strike.
"Kerry fumbled the ball into the end zone and Obama fell on it, and now we're not going to have a war," Buchanan said Monday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."
GOP political strategist Karl Rove said earlier on Fox News Channel's "O'Reilly Report" that Congress is now unlikely to even vote on the issue.
Most pundits said the move is likely to strengthen Russia's president on the world stage.
"Vladimir Putin is headed straight for the Nobel Peace Prize," Buchanan said.
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