To the Editor:
We seem to have a satisfactory resolution of the chemical weapons issue in Syria. The secretary of state and the Russian foreign minister have negotiated an agreement wherein Syria is required to disclose the location of all its supplies of chemical weapons. Subsequently, these ghastly weapons are to be turned over to international authorities and destroyed.
Russia’s motives are unclear, but I believe it thought that if we carried out a strike it would swing the balance in favor of the rebels. While we are at odds with Russia on many issues, we do seem to agree on maintaining a ban on chemical weapons. If Assad was allowed to get away with this fiendish atrocity, other dictators around the world would be emboldened to follow suit. Some of our allies have supported our possible action but have not agreed to provide any material assistance.
Prior to this agreement, the naysayers appeared to control the media. There was opposition on the left and the right to any threat of military action. No credit is due to Congress. The polls showed the House would never pass the resolution for a military strike. There was little support, particularly by the tea partiers, who appear to be more and more isolationists. John McCain has denounced the agreement. He wants to go into a disastrous ground war totally ignoring the makeup of some of the rebels – some of whom are known to be members of al-Qaida. Others have said the president lucked out. Perhaps he did, but – more importantly – the country and the world lucked out.
The fact is if the president and the secretary of state had not made a credible threat of military strikes and moved aircraft carriers into position, Russia would never have acted.
Edward Lynd Kendall