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An Instrument of Peace

On the seventh day after the extraordinary Vigil for Peace in Saint Peter's Square comes this announcement:

The United States and Russia have reached an agreement that calls for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.

The story is here.

I am not suggesting a facile connection, but the "Francis effect," including his letter to Putin should certainly be considered. The letter (which I did not find widely covered in the U.S. press) was referred to by Putin in his op-ed piece in the Times. Merely a shrewd ploy or something more? – we'll see.

 

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I associate this agreement with Russia's understanding that the U.S. president is prepared to bomb Syrian military sites associated directly (production, storage) and indirectly (airfields, etc.) with chemical weapons.  Russia knows it must deliver on its proposals.  The proverbial "ball" is in its court. 

The only way for there to be verification is if there are at least some American loafers on the ground to inspect and if I were the one wearing those loafers, I would want some boots providing security!

But, all of that will be perfectly legal and in accord with UN agreements, consensus and support so that is a good thing not to mention clarity around the mission. An orderly and effective means to achieve postive outcomes.

"American loafers on the ground'  .....not  needed... that's why we have Irish and Swedes.