I agree. Either invade and disarm the country (both government and rebel forces) or stay the f*ck out. Obama has always said they wouldn't get boot on the ground and that the action would solely be to show Assad and the world that the use of chemical weapons is a no-go. Basically what he said is that it's fine to shoot your own people with tanks and all but not with chemical weapons. It's not my words, it's Obama.
Russia still hasn't seen any solid proof that it was Assad using the chemical weapons and still has suspicions towards the rebels of doing it. So unless Obama or Kerry appears on television with the famous "Ladies and Gentlemen..... we got IT", Russia won't support any UN intervention because who does the UN support? The rebels or Assad? It's picking side with two evils. So Putin suggested to at least have the chemical weapons under supervision of the UN so that in the future, they are not being used again.
It would be almost impossible to get the chemical weapons out and under control, outside of Syria, in a country that's being torn by open civil war for two years and counting. It would be a big logistic operation with many steps, it's not like you can send a few units in and let the Syrian troops escort them to the secret chemical weapsons stacks and then get these out. How would it be certain that they'd got it all out, that there were no reserves left, no capacity to produce them anew? How do
you get them out in such an unstable situation? Without protection from your own armed forces (a UN division and aircraft)? And how do you avoid creating a prime target for terrorists or some other power with those stockpiles, ´when you've just got them out of Syria?
And do you think Assad is keen on exposing any of his military installations to a "recovery squad" that, for all that he knows, may include spies who will share information with some other power once they get out? That's exactly the kind of troubles that racked the UN weapons inspection program in Iraq in the years up to 2003. Saddam played for time, let in the inspectors at some places and denied them at others, the results were never conclusive. Saddam also claimed that the inspectors were sharing information with Washington - that is, they would effectively be spying on behalf of his enemies. The idea was ridiculed in newspapers and editorial pages in the west, but eventually Scott Ritter admitted openly (and in defiance of the US DoD and CIA) that yes, of course they had shared some information about military installations with the U.S. military. They were supposed to be working for the U.N. only, but that didn't quite hold up. If the UN or somebody similar sends in that kind of unit, this question will be invoked by Assad at some point when it's getting too hot.
Apart from that, I agree Obama's stance hasn't been very consistent. In a better world and with more resources, he should have taken firm action long ago and I think Cameron and Hollande would have gotten their countries on board for that too - including "boots on the ground". IF this had not happened at a time of deep economic crisis and after two botched, not really conclusive wars in the middle east - of course the U.S. doesn't want a third one and potentially involving Iran, Israel and Russia.
Because they would have to risk any aid THEY gave to the Syrians coming to light. Just like the assistance the French and Germans gave Iraq back before 2001 stalled their 'assistance' in the last gulf war.
You don't let another nation clean up YOUR mess. It would be a massive hit to status.
Exactly. Letting some other state lead the cleanup of your own mess, and lecture you, is a huge blow to the status of any regime.