(For those outside of the know: The rope-a-dope is a boxing fighting style commonly associated with Muhammad Ali in his 1974 Rumble in the Jungle match against George Foreman.
In competitive situations other than boxing, rope-a-dope is used to describe strategies in which one party purposely puts itself in what appears to be a losing position, attempting thereby to become the eventual victor.)
Given the adversarial nature of US politics and the fact that the Syrian civil war is a clear no win situation Obama's smartest move is to adopt a "rope a dope" strategy whereby he appears to be loosing but actually is winning. In fact that seems to be exactly what he is doing. By appearing to support the idea of intervention - while at the same time secretly knowing that it is a totally dumb idea he has shoved the decision over to Congress with the knowledge that most likely they will not vote for intervention. He escapes from the dilemma in an excellent Houdini move befitting his intelligence and knowledge of real politique.
When I hear pundits criticize him for not being more forceful on the subject I think to myself "that's why he is smart". He needs to "loose" on this vote because that is a long term "win" for him and indeed both America and Syria. I am sure he has seen the gamed out scenario if the rebels win and the blood bath that would ensue not to mention the very realistic danger that the chemical weapons would fall into the wrong hands. Obama must also know full well from history that few revolutions end up in the hands of the moderates. Just as we saw in Egypt recently needless to say.
The more brutal, cunning and fanatical elements of the rebel forces are also the best organized, equipped and trained so they will win when Assad falls. There is no doubt about that.
We can back the moderates all we want as Sec. John Kerry suggests but history proves this rarely works and it will definitely not work in Syria with all the inherent religious and tribal divisions. All the more reason to celebrate when Congress votes NO.