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Putin & Syria: What's he up to?

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Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

The good news appears to be that President Obama won't be ordering our military to fire a cruise missile or two up the proverbial camel's hiney in some Syrian tent. At least not in the immediate future.

But the bad news appears to be that few have a clear picture of what nut-covering operation that squirrel known as Russia's Vladimir Putin is engaged in.

Mr. Obama took to the airwaves Tuesday night in the equivalent of a “Yeah, that's the ticket” address to the nation. Initially requested as an attempt to make the case for striking at Syria for its alleged chemical weapons attack, it was downgraded to a scrambling exercise in catching up to Mr. Putin's opportunistic bluff-call of Secretary of State John Kerry for his off-the-cuff — but self-dismissed — talk of Bashar Assad relinquishing any chemical weapons to international control and, ultimately, their destruction.

While it might have given Obama a political cover from certain congressional rejection of his attack authorization request, his embrace of the Putin plan (no matter that embrace being akin to a Hollywood air kiss) poses significant risks of its own.

“I am deeply skeptical about the motivation of the Russians and the viability of their plan to place Syria's chemical weapons under international control,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. And with good reason, considering much of the stockpile likely is Russian-engineered and/or -supplied to begin with.

While we don't know what Putin's true motivations are, it's a good bet they are not designed to benefit the United States. And it's a given that they are not intended to rid Syria of Assad.

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