Unless Obama successfully counters the Russian propaganda machine's "blame America" narrative on Syria, nothing America does there will garner support -- whether that means allowing the conflict to continue to a stalemate or lobbing a few missiles into the area to symbolically enforce red lines against the use of chemical weapons.
Speaking of which, where in Kerry's statement was the irrefutable evidence proving Assad responsible for the use of chemical weapons?
"The U.S., U.K. and France officially announced they have solid information on the Syrian authorities' guilt, but can't present evidence," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following Kerry's statement.
I hate to say it, but he's right. Presumably there is supporting intelligence and physical evidence linking the chemical attacks exclusively to the Assad regime -- particularly with the Free Syrian Army spokesman in Paris telling Reuters that the chemical weapons included a Russian-made nerve agent (SC3) and a liquid ammonia made in Iran. So where are the specifics?
Facts and indisputable proof are the only things that matter in this conflict. And even armed with those, it will still be an uphill battle to convince the anti-Americans and anti-Westerners who prefer Russia's English-language media (at least since their sympathetic coverage of Occupy Wall Street movement). Viral videos of the effects of the attacks on the poor Syrian civilians will not alone suffice in an era where conspiracy theorists abound on social media.
Just 9 percent of Americans support intervention in Syria, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken last week. Perhaps it's justifiable for the U.S. to take military action on the basis of "doing the right thing" in the absence of popular support, but it's hard to find examples of any nation's perceived military success when a campaign was widely unpopular.
Team Obama needs to realize that the Syrian conflict has two fronts with which America must contend: the physical confrontation itself and Russian propaganda efforts. Start with the soft target: challenging the ego of the hard-bodied neo-czar.