Michael Gerson: Obama's empowerment of Putin a sad moment for America

Published: Friday, Sept. 13 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

I am relieved that President Obama was given a reprieve from a devastating rejection by Congress, which would have wounded the presidency itself. We should hope (against hope) that a negotiation with Putin, Assad and the United Nations Security Council to establish international control of the world's third-largest chemical weapons stockpile in the middle of a civil war is successful. And Congress should seek ways to strengthen Obama's hand in negotiations.

But this remains a sad moment for America. We have seen a Putin power play, based on a Kerry gaffe, leading to a face-saving presidential retreat — and this was apparently the best of the available options.

Michael Gerson's email address is michaelgerson@washpost.com.

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