(Un)pleasant surprises

Well, the missiles are not on their way. For one, I’m glad the U.S. and Russia concocted a plan to avoid the attack, and that the result should eventually be a chemical weapon-free Syria.

There are plenty of flies in this particular ointment, a lot of big unknowns that will need to become… well, known knowns for everything to work. Namely:

1. Syria could stall, cheat, do everything in its power to thwart the inspections. This sets the regime up for UN action down the road if it’s particularly egregious, although “UN action” is kind of a misnomer, because Bashar al-Assad could disembowel and consume live kittens on Syrian national television and the Russians would continue to pretend nothing happened. Syria is Russia’s last outpost in the Cold War, and they’ll be damned if they’ll give it up.

2. Assad could just ignore the agreement and continue to gas its own people without a care, leading probably to the airstrikes they think they’ve avoided. Again, Russia will never sign on to it, but Russia never signed on to either of our adventures in Iraq either.

3. Syria could comply, but the war will go on, with the U.S. surreptitiously arming the rebels and Russia the Assad government. Lots of angry speeches will be made.

4. Assad complies, the U.S. keeps to its agreement to not arm the rebels and Russia… still backs the regime. Because Russia.

Still no easy answers. The war’s going to fight itself out, and the only real questions are whether the country still has chemical weapons at the end of it, and whether Assad still sits on his throne.

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