Off-the-Cuff Comment by John Kerry May Have Averted an Attack on Syria

An off-hand comment by Secretary of State John Kerry may have actually averted U.S. military intervention in Syria. During a press conference, Kerry was trying to make a point when he said that the only way Assad would avoid a planned military strike by U.S. forces is if he “could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week,” but followed up with, “He isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.” Russia, a Syrian ally, decided that the off-the-cuff remarks (which weren’t part of the White House’s strategic plans) were actually a pretty good idea. The Syrian government then agreed to a formalized Russian proposal, saying they would hand over their chemical weapons in order to avoid an attack by the U.S.

President Obama, who has been busy making his case for military intervention, responded by saying, “It’s certainly a positive development when the Russians and Syrians both make gestures towards dealing with these chemical weapons,” though cautioned “we don’t want just a stalling or delaying tactic” …

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