Ever feel like you can't keep up with all the doomsday headlines clogging the internet? Motherboard's here to help. With GIFs. Welcome to THIS WEEK IN HELL, an occasional feature that brings you hard-hitting animated coverage of the week's most apocalyptic events, straight from the digital pen of Jay Spahr.
What once seemed like an imminent US strike on Syria no longer seems assured this week, and it may have all come down to an offhand remark—an accident, if you like—from Secretary of State John Kerry. The attack called for by President Obama is meant to send a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well of the rest of the world, that chemical weapons are not acceptable to use.
Kerry's remark offered another course: What if Assad simply gave up his weapons? Assad has already agreed to officially declare his nation's chemical weapons, although the US has already rejected his timetable and conditions for giving up the weapons, which requires the US declare military action off the table. The White House won't agree, because it refuses to eliminate options, even if Congress and the US populace are against any action. Meanwhile,
Russian President Vladimir Putin stirred up already heightened tensions with US by publishing (or having a PR firm publish) an op-ed in the New York Times calling for peace and an end to American exceptionalism. So this week we've seen the US narrowly avoiding entering a two year civil war—one that few, aside from the White House, want to get involved in—thanks to a gaffe from a top official, which has now led to the fate of Syria's chemical weapons being decided by a political showdown that's reminding everyone of how much the Cold War sucked. "This is not a game," Kerry said last night. If only it felt that way.