UK now believes in Syrians picking the Syrian president
Having shied away from contesting the premiership which was his for the taking after Brexit Johnson was installed instead as the foreign minister in the cabinet of a person with more balls than he.
The first thing he did in his new position was to reiterate the position of the preceding cabinets that "Assad must go".
Now he has had one of his characteristic changes of heart. Speaking to parliamentarians he explained:
"It is our view that Bashar al-Assad should go, it's been our longstanding position. But we are open-minded about how that happens and the timescale on which that happens."
"I have to be realistic about how the landscape has changed, and it may be that we will have to think afresh about how we handle this. The old policy, I am afraid to say, does not command much confidence."
"We have been wedded for a long time to the mantra that Assad must go, and we have not been able at any stage make that happen, and that has produced the difficulty we now face."
This has been billed as UK now saying that Assad can stay, but what Johnson really said was that while London would love to see Assad ousted there is no way in hell it can make that happen, so it might as well stop raising expectations.
On other words, it's not Johnson saying Assad can stay. It's the Russians and the Turks.
Incidentally having admitted his impotence to enact regime change in Damascus Johnson has discovered that only the Syrian demos has the right to decide who governs their state:.
"We are getting to the stage where some sort of democratic resolution has got to be introduced."
"We believe in democracy, we support democracy, and if there is a political solution then I don't think we can really avoid such a democratic event. I think that is the way forward."
Yeah Boris, it's a real bummer when you can't avoid a 'democratic event'.