I believe two things very strongly concerning the Syrian crisis:
A. President Obama’s threat to use military force has led to the Syrian government admitting it has chemical weapons and to agree (or at least state its agreement) to get rid of them.
B. That the plan to eliminate the weapons proposed by the Russians, whose client state is Syria, and the Syrian regime’s acquiescence may be somewhat of a stalling tactic.
But if the U.S. keeps the threat of military force alive and holds the parties to the agreement, then that has to be some form of success for Obama.
And the threat of force along with an election in Iran may have also had a positive outcome. The new president of Iran is on a public relations blitz, vowing to play nicey nice and has good words for Obama (and the far-right conspiracy fans are no doubt saying I told you Obama was a foreign agent), and I think I heard that he even wished the Israelis well. Seeing the American threat of force he may well feel that diplomacy is the better option for now.
The new Iranian president claims Iran has no intention, and never has, of producing nuclear weapons (a dubious claim). It just wants to have a right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Strange that an oil-rich nation has a need for nuclear.
My fear in this thing was that initially we seemed to be headed for one of those no-win military confrontations where we take half measures (as in “unbelievably small” as John Kerry put it) but spend a lot of money and get a lot of people killed and maimed for life, and accomplish nothing and even make things worse.
When you threaten force you do have to be willing to back up the threat if the other side calls your bluff, but then again, you don’t want to just strike to save face at the moment but have no plan or resolve to win.
Possibly the other side (and I mean the Russians, the Syrian regime, and Iran) is worried in this case, or it may be playing Obama. I don’t think that would be wise on the enemy’s part.