We've spent 5 years sort of trying to overthrow Assad by supporting rebels opposed to his minority rule. Yet rather than accept the logic of the expression "if you strike a king, kill him" (or "never do an enemy a small harm" if you prefer) we now propose to give Russia (and Iran) a victory by helping Assad survive the civil war:
The Obama administration’s new proposal to Russia on Syria is more extensive than previously known. It would open the way for deep cooperation between U.S. and Russian military and intelligence agencies and coordinated air attacks by American and Russian planes on Syrian rebels deemed to be terrorists, according to the text of the proposal I obtained. ...
The proposed “Joint Implementation Group” (JIG) would be housed near Amman, Jordan, with the mission to “enable expanded coordination between the United States and the Russian Federation beyond the established safety of flight procedures.”
This is stupid, as I wrote when the notion was floated:
We help Russia bomb ISIL and other jihadi opponents of Assad, under the deal. Which helps Assad. And Iran.
And Russia stops bombing non-jihadi rebels. Which no longer helps Assad but which would still leave Assad free to bombard the rebels with artillery. Which on balance helps Assad. And Iran.
We get a signing ceremony with smiling Russian foreign minister Lavrov. Man, his performance bonuses must be spectacular. Which helps Russia. But not Iran, I suppose.
So, you know, bravo! You have to love the smell of nuance in the morning. It smells like ... Russian victory.
Kerry once compared Assad to Hitler and now Kerry is in the vanguard of saving Assad.
Russia and Iran will get all the credit for saving Assad.
We will earn the anger of Assad who will seek revenge against us for our half-hearted attempt to defeat him. Assad helped kill American troops in Iraq before the civil war in Syria, what more will he do against us after we struck him yet left him standing amidst the wreckage of his country?
Our allies will justifiably wonder just what the Hell our word is worth and whether we can be trusted when the going gets tough.
Our enemies will wonder that, too.
Oh, and the Russians will get a nice close look from the inside at how our Air Force conducts combat operations. The Russians won't take notes on that insight, now will they?
Our military opposes this approach.
And this will be called "smart diplomacy."
This is not just stupid--it is predictable, as I called it back in September 2013.
UPDATE: Good grief, is Kerry this bad or is Putin not waiting for a Hillary! presidency to start the blackmailing based on hacked Clinton emails?
Skeptics in the U.S. government, European allies in the anti-Islamic State coalition and the main Syrian opposition, distrustful of Russia's intentions, are questioning Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest proposal for closer U.S.-Russian cooperation against extremist groups in Syria.
Several U.S. military and intelligence officials called the plan naive, and said Kerry risks falling into a trap that Russian President Vladimir Putin has laid to discredit the United States with moderate rebel groups and drive some of their fighters into the arms of Islamic State and other extremist groups.
I fully believe that the least effective secretary of state in modern history is capable of being this idiotic.
But even Kerry's brain synapses randomly spark occasionally, don't they? What does Putin have on our administration, anyway?