Syria Plan: 'Sham' or Legit Path to Peace?

Pundits make their case

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 10, 2013 12:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – Might John Kerry's offhand comment lead to a genuine resolution of the Syrian mess? Some of the opinions:

  • It's a 'sham': That's the view of Michael Doran of the Brookings Institution as quoted in the Washington Post. "This is a dishonest ploy by Russia and Syria that boxes in the Unites States and, more importantly, makes any relief for Syria’s civil war far less likely," writes Max Fisher, summing up Doran's view. The worst part is that President Obama must now rely on Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad. "He is their partner in this sham process," says Doran. Later, he asks: "When we rush to embrace rivals and enemies, what signal does that send, around the Middle East, about our resolve and reliability?"

  • Worth pursuing: Be skeptical, yes, but the US "should pursue this potential solution," write the editors at the New York Times. Done right—which means requiring Assad to allow monitors in immediately—this "could mean that the United States would not have to go it alone in standing firm against the Syrian regime. And it could open up a broader channel to a political settlement between Mr. Assad and the rebels—the only practical way to end this war."
  • Desperate times: "It is a long-shot proposal started perhaps by accident, promoted by parties who have regularly lied, and cautiously embraced by a US administration whose policies in Syria have been incoherent by any measure," writes David Rothkopf at CNN. "Regardless of whether it amounts to anything or not, it speaks volumes about how bad our options are."
  • Hail Putin: It's Putin, not Obama, who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, writes KT McFarland at Fox News, who expects Obama to take full credit for the proposal when he speaks tonight. "It turns out that leading from behind left a big opening up front. Putin stepped right in. And Obama still hasn't figured it out."

President Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade toward the Oval Office Tuesday.
President Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade toward the Oval Office Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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