White House and State Department officials said Monday they’re open to proposals by Russia to put Syria’s stocks of chemical weapons under international control, but that such talk is no reason for the U.S. to back away from President Barack Obama’s threat of a military strike.
The administration’s willingness to consider such a plan offered the first hint at a scenario that might avert a U.S. attack on Syria and could even take the pressure off lawmakers to cast a vote to authorize a military action that his highly unpopular with the war-weary American public.
“We’d have to take a hard look. Any transfer of chemical weapons to international control would be a positive development,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said when asked about the Russian initiative during an interview on MSNBC. “We’ve been highly skeptical to date. They have not even declared their chemical weapons stockpiles.”