If a regional war through US strikes against Syria is averted, paradoxically, it will not be because of restraint on the side of the US, but diplomatic efforts of Russia, in engaging with the Syrian regime over its chemical weapons stockpile, and the domestic and international anti-war protests. One thing is clear from the events of the past week or so is that the US places more weight on exerting its power than the restraints on the use of force and engaging in war agreed on in the UN Charter and international law more generally. There is strong evidence that the claims that Syria used chemical weapons against its own people are false. This is attested to by US intelligence officials including former CIA chiefs. There is also strong evidence that many of the forces that the US is arming to fight Assad are jihadists from Al Qaeda and other extremist groups and that evidence has been produced that shows some of these may have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack. The US war threats have also been undermining those working for peace within Syria, that is, those seeking to establish democracy for Syria by Syrians. All this is sobering. While it does not make Putin or Assad into democrats, it makes it much harder for those of us who hoped that there would be a leaning towards peace in the White House to place our hopes on the US or to believe its claims. On this occasion, the South African government is to be commended for insisting on exhausting all diplomatic efforts and opposing use of force.