Secretary of State John Kerry was clearly exasperated, not least at his own government.
Over and over again, he complained to a small group of Syrian civilians that his diplomacy had not been backed by a serious threat of military force, according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The New York Times.
Yet he also argued that we couldn't use military force because of law and Congressional opposition.
So what is it? Can we use force or not? If we can't use force, why is the rest of the administration at fault for not threatening force? And if the administration is at fault, why do you claim we can't use force?
Not addressed is why we didn't try to arm and support rebels to overthrow Assad five years ago before the body count and jihadis skyrocketed.
Our diplomacy is amazing. Putin, even if he loses, will have a reputation of at least trying to help his friends win.
Even if the Syrian rebels eventually defeat Assad, does anybody expect them to have a lot of gratitude to America for our on again/off again support that never really tried hard to achieve victory, and which just increased the cost to Syrians of that eventual rebel victory?
Kerry can try to deflect blame as he sees his chance for a Nobel Peace Prize bleed out in the streets of Aleppo, but nobody is fooled into failing to see that this idiot savante has been outplayed by Iranians, Assad's Syrians, and Russians.
UPDATE: Big talk:
Secretary of State John Kerry called Friday for Russia and Syria to face a war crimes investigation for their attacks on Syrian civilians, further illustrating the downward spiral in relations between Washington and Moscow.
About that. Before you can charge, try, and punish people for war crimes, you have to defeat the war criminals and have them in your custody.
So I doubt Putin or Assad are quaking in their boots from this unbelievably small legal threat.