Here’s what I see when I deconstruct the Syria story:
Russia has been drawn into a process of collecting and destroying Syria’s chemical arsenal. This has been a goal of U.S. policy for two years. It finally worked thanks in part to Obama’s pledge to use military force to punish Syria if the Russians didn’t step up. In this messy world, there is considerable value in agreement by Moscow and Washington on the “soonest and safest” destruction of Syrian chemical weapons, with a timetable for implementation.
The United Nations has taken new steps to affirm the international norm against use of chemical weapons. The 41-page report delivered this week to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon isn’t a joke, as some predicted; it’s a surprisingly thorough, careful documentation of the horrific attack on Aug. 21.