Kerry and Sergey Lavrov negotiate diplomatic options
It’s safe to say that until about one week ago, no one expected to see Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, teaming up to rid Syria of chemical weapons without the use of force.
In an interview on CNN, Kerry said:
“Mr. Foreign Minister, we are serious, as you are, about engaging in substantive, meaningful negotiations, even as our military maintains its current posture to keep up the pressure on the Assad regime."
While the U.S. and Russia may currently be at odds, the ability to work together to keep military strikes from being the first and primary option is a small victory for the Obama administration – even if it wasn’t intentional.
"Really, the U.S. has been out-maneuvered by Russian President Putin and what you end up seeing is a situation where we have to go there and try to make it look, at least from a perception standpoint, that we got what we wanted and that we are winning," says George Washington University Political Management Director Lara Brown.
Brown refers to Putin’s sudden desire to diffuse the situation a “rhetorical flip:"
“What he was trying to say was, 'I'm on the moral side of this, I'm on the right side' -- which is non-military action -- 'We're looking at the diplomatic part, I am the peacemaker, you Americans are trying to be the war-mongers.'"
Some who spent the majority of their lives in Syria aren’t so much worried about who is at the helm of diplomacy as long as the pressure continues to come from outside the Middle East nation.
“I think the American public has already made up its mind, and I don't think it's going to change all that much," says Brown. “Americans are learning that the promise of democracy is not as easy as the reality of democracy”