It's like we're living in some kind of alternate universe where traditional paradigms have evaporated around the Syrian conflict. Suddenly, the fate of the world lies almost exclusively in the hands of France and its pragmatic Socialist President Francois Hollande -- and as a-right-winger based in France, I'm strangely comforted by this. France is the kind of friend who won't always tell you want you want to hear, but they'll have thought it through.
Arguably, no nation is better positioned than France to mitigate this potential global fiasco. Well, aside from Russia, that is-- but apparently no one in the West can be bothered to ask much of the Russians right now, and they're not exactly offering because they're still obsessively engaged in a rhetorical Cold War with the West, even as their backyard gets bulldozed.
America won't intervene unilaterally in Syria. Team Obama most likely never wanted to ever have to go over there in the first place. But then someone went nuts with the chemistry set and killed a lot of people-- and Obama had already said something like, "If anyone breaks out the chem set, I'll have to spank you -- with a Tomahawk missile." And as every parent knows, if you don't use the Tomahawk when you have the chance, it's a slippery slope to a nuke-spanking -- or something.
In the event that the Obama administration ever allowed itself to somehow be persuaded to do something stupid -- because this is politics, after all, and such a possibility can't be ruled out -- it would at least need someone riding shotgun to go anywhere. Both France and America have independently said that in order to have a Syrian road trip, they would need a friend in the passenger seat releasing primal screams and playing DJ with the iTunes on the car stereo while crushing beer cans on their respective foreheads.
Britain's electorate won't let its military go and play war, but France's President Hollande seems hopeful that perhaps his might, especially as he's turned out to be a surprisingly adept wartime general since the start of his mandate over a year ago. And even if the U.S. congressional vote fails, France could still succeed in making the case for its own intervention in Syria along with the Arab League.