First the winners:
- The American People.
Provided all parties to the agreement do what they're supposed to, we don't get ourselves tied up in another ridiculous intervention in the Middle East. That is what the American people overwhelmingly want. I'm sure there is sympathy out there for the plight of the Syrian people. We should express that sympathy through humanitarian aid, not bombs. The people of this country are the big winners here.
- President Obama.
Haphazardly and meanderingly perhaps, but President Obama arrived at the best possible outcome here: no military intervention and enforcement of his red line. The president can now move this issue off his daily agenda on over to John Kerry (!?) and get on to the most important thing on his desk at this moment: the rollout of ObamaCare, his signature accomplishment as president. The American people are far more interested in their own healthcare than some civil war oversees, and he obviously would rather be where the people are on any issue.
Now I suspect the President wants to keep Assad in power while he turns the chemical weapons over. Which means we wont be getting in bed with these shady so-called 'rebels' for at least a little while.
- Vladimir Putin
Putin gets to keep supplying Syria with weapons and get to strut around saying he stopped an American air strike. You know what? I say let him peacock all he wants. Whatever.
- Bashar Al-Assad
Obviously the regime lives to fight another day, with his Russian supply lines intact. He's got more time and more flexibility to go after his opponents and quash the rebellion.
And then the Losers:
- The Neocons
Having not gotten the quagmire they wanted, as Greg Dworkin has astutely pointed out, the neocons are the biggest losers here. They have lost credibility with the American people, and even with the right wing of the GOP. It is only a matter of time, given those conditions, that they begin to lose influence with the Washington Establishment of both parties, over whom they still have a significant amount of power. This is the first time I can remember that the neocons lost a policy battle. Israel's government is mad. John McCain is mad. Joe Lieberman is very mad! And when Joe Lieberman is mad, you know you've done the right thing.
- The Syrian 'Rebels'
The so-called 'moderate' leader of the Free Syrian Army (the least effective of the bunch) is trashing the deal. He's saying he wont honor it, or any cease-fire in the future, and wont even guarantee the security of UN inspectors as they remove the weapons. What a good friend he is.
As for him and all the rest of the Saudi-backed jihadists and Al Qaeda that form the bulk of the Syrian opposition, they don't get a no-cost American air and naval force to do their bidding. Too bad for them.
Having benefited greatly from the United States invasion of Iraq, Iran was most certainly looking to draw America into another ridiculous quagmire in the Middle East, so as to weaken Saudi influence in the region.
Too bad for them too.