And ride mankind

If you read my column last week, you saw laid out very clearly and cleanly the current stance of the modern isolationist, a stance that was recently clarified, crystallized and petrified into position by the horrible humiliation of Iraq. I felt pretty good about assuming this position, and, I think it's safe to say, it's one that many Americans currently hold.

So damn, I must confess, I sure didn't see that curveball coming out of left field, courtesy of the Russians! Seriously. Who would have guessed that Putin and Russia, of all people, were all of a sudden going to barge into the “let's bomb them Syrians” drum circle and cool everybody out in the space of about four or five days?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. Not for a second. I don't mind at all that the Russians came up with their surprise olive branch that made my position suddenly look weary, tired, frustrated, cynical, skeptical and cautious. Those are the inherent problems with isolationism, and those problems can be exposed during those rare and refreshing occasions when people will holster their weapons and figure stuff out.

Remember, before John Kerry made the offhand remark about the Syrians turning over their entire stockpile of chemical weapons that got this whole love train rolling, things were looking fairly tense. And I found myself in the bizarre position of actually being in agreement with all the kooks in Congress whose main mission in politics these days is to confound our president. You know, the guys who now can best be described not as Republicans in the traditional sense, but more accurately as Obstacularists. That's a much more accurate take on these yohos. Usually, they get me all hot and steamy with just about everything they do. But this time, when contemplating the question of launching missiles at Assad, I found myself pulling for these jerks in terms of not giving Obama the votes he needed for his green light.

Then, things changed. Very quickly. And Obama and Kerry look pretty good right now. OK, cool. After all, I did vote for these guys. Funny how, at times, one can take the high road by threatening to drop a few bombs. Funny how a country that has denied the very existence of its stash of chemical weapons can suddenly look in the back of the storage shed under the weed whacker and find some. Funny how everybody gets so bent out of shape about killing people with gas, but remains positively ho-hum about blowing people up with mortars, mines, missiles, napalm, white phosphorous, bunker busters, etc. etc. I also can't help but wonder—what does this sudden niceness and peacemaking from Putin have to do with the nearness of his Winter Olympics, an event that is already looking troubled and vulnerable?