The change is dramatic. Moscow suggested to Damascus that it should hand over its chemical weapons, destroy them under international supervision and join the Convention on the Banning of Chemical Weapons. Syria responded to this plan approvingly and quickly, while President Barack Obama also sent a signal, claiming that Syria's response was "a potentially positive development." This unexpected turn, after Washington showed its plan to launch an air strike on Syria, brings some relief.
US media already suspected that President Obama might be designing his "escape route." It is also largely believed that his air strike might be canceled. The plan has failed to get enough support from the US citizens and many lawmakers showed their objections.
Russia's proposal, according to some analysts, is Vladimir Putin giving his American counterpart a way out.
The situation is still full of uncertainties. The US has become unprecedentedly hesitant about whether to "punish" a much smaller nation. Obama passed the ball to Congress, where massive divergences often emerge. Is Uncle Sam shilly-shallying just because President Obama lacks leadership?
Apparently not. Washington has lost its sense of direction in the Middle East. It is a flick of the wrist for Uncle Sam to thrust Syria with a single air strike, but the ambiguity of its political purposes will put the US into a highly risky situation. After all, the Great Middle East, which was proposed after Saddam Hussein's regime being toppled, has proved to be Utopia.
In the meantime, Uncle Sam's rally cry does not work as well as before. The UK's Royal Air Force will probably stop standing by the side of Uncle Sam this time. What's more, after Russia presented a peaceful solution, almost all the major powers in Europe applauded.
Obama's hesitation suggests that the power of the US is declining in the international community. It has started to worry about whether its moves are too reckless.
The Kremlin's proposal, resolute and tactical, dealt a blow at Washington's Achilles' heels. Russia outdid who it had been in past crises, such as in Yugoslavia, and knocked the world's socks off.
However, it should be noted that only the ending of this "drama" can really forge the future of geopolitics in the Middle East. What really matters is whether the US would give up the air strike or whether Bashar al-Assad's regime would be overturned if the war button was pressed.
If Washington gives up the air strike, no matter on what grounds, it would probably herald the collapse of the long-lasting military interventionism led by the West. The US might be able to start "reasoning" with the world.
If war does finally break out, then it would become the most uncertain wrestle between many different powers.