In a stunning blow to the "humanitarian interventionists" of the Obama administration and another boost for Russian diplomatic efforts, the five permanent Members of the UN Security Council appear to have agreed to a resolution governing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons that rejects each point the US administration not long ago deemed essential to such an agreement.
Secretary of State John Kerry as recently as last week "insisted" that any UN resolution dealing with Syrian chemical disarmament must be filed under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which provides for the use of force if the agreement is not satisfactorily implemented. Russia, which had been tricked by the Obama administration over its Chapter 7 demands on Libya that ended in a disastrous war, refused to fall again for the ruse. Even as Kerry lied last week to the US media that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov had agreed to a Chapter 7 resolution, the Russians denied Kerry's claims. Now we see that Chapter 7 is dead in the water.
Earlier this week, President Obama held firm to his position that the Syrian government was responsible for the Sarin gas attack near Damascus on August 21. Said Obama:
"on August 21st, the [Syrian] regime used chemical weapons in an attack that killed more than 1,000 people, including hundreds of children."The administration has yet to offer proof of its claims, and a highly skeptical US population and US Congress categorically rejected earlier this month the administration's request to go to war over these unproven claims. It seems Iraq was not that long ago after all.
The Russians continue to maintain that not only is there no evidence that the Syrian government carried out the attacks, there is plenty of evidence from a multiplicity of sources that the rebels in fact carried out the vicious act. And indeed careful analysis of the videos released by the US government to "prove" Syrian government responsibility appear to have been manipulated.
Whatever the case, most of the world believed the Russian position. As a result, the agreed-upon UN Security Council resolution contains no language ascribing blame to the Syrian government for the August 21 gas attacks. Defeat.
Obama's warmongering "humanitarians" were desperate to save face, with US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power Tweeting that the resolution was "legally obligating Syria to give up CW they used on their people." This was more rhetorical flourish and wishful thinking than a slam dunk, as "legally binding" is virtually meaningless at the UN.
Ambassador Power further covered up her defeat by obfuscating the fact that the UNSC resolution had no force to back it up. "Wrapping up meeting of UNSC which is finally ready to impose measures under Chapter VII if Syria does not comply," she Tweeted.
Ah, but there is no Chapter 7 language in the resolution. That would require a completely new and separate resolution and would require a positive Russian and Chinese response. Power is working herself into a lather over not much more than thin air. It must be frustrating.
The defeat of the Obama administration hawks in the UN and the victory of the Russian position should not be misinterpreted, however. Those interested in peace should view it as a positive sign that armed American exceptionalism cannot without check export destruction willy-nilly where it wishes. More than a victory for Russian diplomacy, it is a victory for the American people and for the emerging super-coalition of progressives, conservatives, and libertarians against aggressive war overseas and resulting poverty back home. And a victory for every reader of this website devoted to peace and prosperity. Perhaps we might even get lucky and see the repeatedly defeated and out-maneuvered Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and John Kerry sent packing along with their war-mad underlings like Ben Rhodes and Tony Blinken.