Secretary of State John Kerry said today that he wanted thank Russian President Vladimir Putin for pursuing a diplomatic solution for dealing with the problem caused by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad controlling and using chemical weapons.

When Kerry first floated that diplomatic solution while talking to reporters in London on Monday, it was immediately described by his own State Department as a “rhetorical” statement and by the White House as a “hypothetical”–and dismissed in an initial New York Times headline as an “offhand proposal.”

Yet, within five days, in a remarkable turn of events, Kerry was thanking Russia’s president for taking the proposal up and making it a reality.

“I want to thank President Putin for his willingness to pick up on the possibility of negotiating an end to Syrian weapons of mass destruction,” Kerry said today in Geneva, where along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov he announced a deal to remove and destroy Syria’s chemical weapon’s stocks.

The path to that diplomatic solution began when Kerry, speaking in London five days ago, suggested that Syria give up all its chemical weapons—and then almost in the same breath dismissed that as something that could never happen.

However, the Russian government swiftly snatched up Kerry’s rhetorical statement, put it to the Syrian government, and announced that they intended to move forward with it.

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