Even Obama's chemical weapons red line is a farce. Its very pronouncement advertised passivity, signaling that anything short of WMD — say, massacring 80,000 innocents using conventional weapons — would draw no U.S. response.
And when that WMD red line was finally crossed, Obama went into lawyerly overdrive to erase it. Is it any wonder that Assad's allies are on full offensive — Hezbollah brazenly joining the ground war, Russia sending a small armada and mountains of military material, Iran warning everyone to stay out.
Obama's response is to send the secretary of state, hat in hand, to Moscow. And John Kerry returns actually thinking he's achieved some great diplomatic breakthrough — a "peace" conference that Russia will dominate and use to re-legitimize Assad and marginalize the rebels.
Just to make sure Kerry understood his place, Putin kept him waiting outside his office for three hours. The Russians know how to send messages. And the one from Qusair is this: If you're fighting for your life and have your choice of allies — Obama bearing "international legitimacy" or Putin bearing Russian naval protection, Iranian arms shipments and thousands of Hezbollah fighters — which would you choose?
Charles Krauthammer's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.