… but does his plan, which Syria’s government has endorsed, raise the stakes as well?
The Russian proposal is for Assad’s regime to place its chemical weapons under “international supervision.”
France has announced that it will bring a resolution in support of that proposal, which also has China’s backing before the UN Security Council.
The US, being one of the “Big Five,” could veto such a resolution, perhaps claiming that it lacks enforcement teeth.
But the greater likelihood is that the Obama administration will support, and actively push for passage of, the resolution …
… and come back a few months from now claiming that Syria hasn’t complied and that the resolution constitutes authority for a US attack.
If things go that route, the talk about “limited strikes” with “no boots on the ground” will probably be replaced by an agenda of regime change.
Update: Even as I was writing this post, I noticed a new set of stories coming down the media pike: It appears that Obama and Putin actually discussed something like this proposal last week at the G-20 conference. So it may not be so much a matter of Putin calling Obama’s bluff as Putin falling into a trap — saving Obama’s political skin and setting up the whole “war on Syria” idea for a later comeback. Stay tuned.