Speaking to the American people Tuesday night, President Obama made the forceful case for a military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad over the use of chemical weapons. But Obama left the door open to a diplomatic resolution, saying he would try diplomacy with Russia's help before asking Congress to approve military action.
“When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look away,” Obama said, speaking from the East Room in the White House where he asserted that Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21. “The question now is what the United States of America and the international community is prepared to do about it.”
Obama made the case his administration has made for weeks now, that the use of chemical weapons will ultimately pose a threat to Americans’ security by degrading the international norm against using chemical weapons.
However, the president left the door open to a diplomatic solution in which the international community would take charge of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. Obama said he has asked leaders in Congress to postpone a vote to authorize a military strike until this diplomatic avenue has been pursued. However, even without Congress, Obama asserted his authority to launch a strike.
With polls showing America is wary of getting involved in the Syrian conflict, President Obama made the case that the engagement would be limited and not repeat the long-term commitment the U.S. made in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.