THE BLOG
09/10/2013 07:23 pm ET Updated Nov 10, 2013

Syrian Crisis: President Obama Is One Cool Customer

Remember how President Obama kept poker-faced yet jovial at a White House Correspondents' Dinner on the eve of the mission to get Osama bin Laden? Perhaps he's been at it again.

Conservatives -- and much of the mainstream media, alas -- have been railing over Secretary of State John Kerry's "wishful rumination" in London regarding Syria's chemical weapons, and how it shows that President Obama's foreign policy is Keystone Cops.

Far from wishful, it was apparently a floated plan that looks wiser by the hour.

Monday's NY Times website had the following bit of reporting: "A senior State Department official, who was traveling on the plane with Mr. Kerry en route home from London, where he made the remarks in a news conference, said that the Russians had previewed their proposal with the Secretary of State before going public."

So, the initial story, that Kerry opined out loud in London and the Russians then jumped on it, may well be incorrect. Indeed, early Tuesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the notion of the international community taking charge of Syrian chemical weapons wasn't merely the result of Kerry popping off, and Carney specifically cited prior conversations between Kerry and the Russian Foreign Secretary as well as conversations between Obama and Russian President Putin when they were together a week ago at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg.

It seems the American government may have been working two tracks simultaneously: diplomatic back channels with Russia, and the public threat of military action against Syria, both aimed at dealing with Syrian President Assad's chemical weapons and their shameful use.

If so, this is a lucid, smart approach that looks to generate positive dividends. I wonder if the U.S. president will acknowledge as much when he speaks to the nation Tuesday evening?

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