READ THE FINE PRINT – AT 9:46 A.M. ET: The Russians are experts in mounting a charm offensive, even if it only lasts five minutes. They're doing a mini-offensive on Syria, as The Hill reports:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters Saturday that Russia isn't against a negotiated deal for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step down, a hopeful sign that the Obama administration's approach might work.
Hopeful only to Obama and those under eight.
“If the Syrians agree (about Assad's departure) between each other, we will only be happy to support such a solution," Lavrov told reporters, according to Reuters.
Lavrov's comments, while encouraging to the U.S., weren't without caveats however.
"But we believe it is unacceptable to impose the conditions for such a dialogue from outside," he added.
A key Syrian ally, Russia has been seen as an impediment to Assad's removal because his government hosts Russia's sole naval base outside the former Soviet Union, at Tartus on the Mediterranean. Russia has twice vetoed United Nations resolutions that just hinted at sanctions against Syria.
Instead of threatening sanctions or military action, Lavrov on Wednesday called for a broad meeting of countries and groups that have influence on Assad and the rebels to hash out a peace agreement.
COMMENT: Oh please. That has more ifs, ands, and buts in it than the spec sheet for the Chevy Volt. Russia, under Putin, is not going to make anything easy for us. The Putinites see us as their enemy. Obama may not realize that, but I think most mature Americans do.
Syria is an ongoing tragedy and a symbol of American weakness and indecision. These things do not end well.
June 10, 2012