Threat of force only way to a diplomatic solution
For all the concern about Russian President Vladimir Putin emerging as a peacemaker and eclipsing the U.S. role on the world stage, the true bottom line is the that threat of American military power is driving a potential diplomatic resolution to the chemical weapons crisis in Syria.
While lobbying allies for support for a military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime for its use of poison gas, Secretary of State John Kerry made an off-handed remark that the only way to avoid such a strike would be for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons inventory.
To just about everyone's surprise, Russia presented that option to Syria, which probably had been told in advance by the Russians to respond favorably.
It goes without saying that Russia and Syria cannot be trusted, and that they probably will try to game whatever process emerges to identify and secure the weapons.
That's why the threat of U.S. military force must be real. Americans have made clear that they do not want to intervene militarily in Syria, which is the best result. But it is abundantly clear that they only way to ensure that result is to assure Mr. Assad that his stockpile will burn unless he relinquishes it.
To ensure a diplomatic solution, Congress should schedule votes on the authorization of force, the threat of which is the only viable catalyst to seal the deal.