Unfortunately, Obama Still "Owns" the Syrian Mess

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Obama didn't make Syria Putin's problem.

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Andrew Sullivan thinks President Obama has just handed "ownership" of the Syrian morass to Vladimir Putin:

But the upshot right now – so far as I can see – is that Russia and not America now owns this conflict. It is Putin who is on the hook now – and the more Putin brags about his diplomatic achievement the more entrenched his responsibility for its success will become. And that is perfectly in line with Russia’s core interests: Putin is much closer to Syria than we are; he must be scared shitless of Sunni Jihadists who now loathe him and Russia more than even the Great Satan getting control of WMDs. Those chemical weapons could show up in Dagestan or Chechnya or the Moscow subway. It is Putin – and not Obama – who is therefore much more firmly stuck between the Sunnis and the Shia in Syria – not to speak of the Christians.

I'm not sure. It's true the ball is Putin's court, but the only way the Obama administration can keep it there is to keep threatening to do something reckless. Why else does Secretary Kerry continue to threaten military strikes against Syria? Because the administration thinks this is the only way to get Putin's attention and cooperation.

Obama, in other words, is in more-or-less the same spot he was in since the crisis began: making threats that he will have to follow through on for the sake of his "credibility" if he doesn't get the results he wants.

A wise administration would have used the Russia offer as cover to extricate itself from the quicksand of Syria's internal strife (quicksand the administration walked into with open eyes and careless lips), but instead they're doubling down on the same foolhardy gamble that landed them in this mess in the first place.

(AP Photo)

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