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.

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