Obama: We'll Give Russian Plan a Chance
But president wants military to remain ready if diplomacy doesn't work in Syria
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2013 8:22 PM CDT
President Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade toward the Oval Office Tuesday, ahead of his daily briefing.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – President Obama capped a busy day of Syria developments with his personal pitch to the nation tonight: He's willing to pursue Russia's plan for a diplomatic resolution, but he insists that the US should remain ready to use military force "if diplomacy fails," reports CNN. Obama said he has asked Congress to postpone any vote on the potential use of force until Moscow's plan plays out on the international stage. "It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments, but this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies," said Obama. If the initiative fails, however, America is obligated to act given the nature of chemical weapons, he said. "That's what makes America different. That's what makes America exceptional." (Read the full transcript via the Washington Post.)

The president—who reiterated that "I will not put American boots on the ground"—also made the case that stopping such weapons is a matter of national security for the US: "If we fail to act," Bashar al-Assad will keep using them, and "other tyrants" and terrorist organizations could follow suit. Iran might be emboldened to shrug off international law in regard to nuclear weapons. "When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory, but these things happened," said the president, who encouraged people to look at the videos from Syria for themselves. As for the diplomatic path: It seemed to be making progress for most of the day but suffered a late setback when Russia rejected the idea of any UN resolution that called for the possibility of military action, reports the AP. Moscow wants any use of force off the table, and a resolution being drawn up by France doesn't oblige. John Kerry, meanwhile, is set to meet with his Russian counterpart on Thursday in Geneva.

View 2 more images
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Obama: Stopping Syria Makes US Safer is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 235 comments
Sep 11, 2013 7:00 AM CDT
Oh, there are SO MANY things that could be said about this whole thing! Firstly, though, is the question, Who is the "WE" in this headline? Obama and The American People? If that's who he's referring to, the majority of Americans don't want us to strike Syria, so although the President is supposed to be leading the People of the United States, he's not representing us. Secondly, he needs to be more transparent in regard to all the things for which his administration is under investigation before we'll just naively "trust" him when he tells us "we have clear proof" of who is behind the attacks...or any of his assertions, for that matter. If they have clear proof, they need to show us. America is made up of The People, not just him and his appointed officials. How can anything he says be trusted when he won't come clean about all the goings on in his administration? This man is delusional if he thinks all or most of America is "with" him in his craze to go into another war, given the economic mess we're currently in. Why should it be America who goes after them? It's a global problem rather than ours, because they haven't attacked America. If it's anyone's responsibility to go after Assad and those behind the attacks, it's the UN's. Yes, we're exceptional all right; the world finds us exceptionally nosy, forever getting involved in other countries' civil conflicts, and that was never the purpose of our military. It was put in place for our defense, not for arbitrarily policing the world. And even the global community has never authorized us to be in that position. In the world's eyes, we're the fat cat that thinks it should be in charge of everything. Is it any wonder we're viewed with such disdain by so many? And now, we're no more in an economical position to engage in a war of any kind than any other developed country.
Sep 11, 2013 4:12 AM CDT
Having watched and listened to the President last night. I still have a major problem the President calling for action against Syria, if the Russian plan does not work. This is due to the fact, that the President did not show or tell what proof he has to call for a strike against the Assad Goverment of Syria. All I heard, is we have clear proof that Assad is behind the attack. Fine, what is the proof? Other than Assad saying, yes we have chemical weapons. Almost every country that has a military, has chemical weapons, including the US. Are we now going to require every country, along with the US to destory their chemical weapons? Look, I think Assad is behind the attack. But thinking and proving are two different things. I want proof that the Syrian Goverment, was behind the attack. Other than videos taken after the attack and saying, we know Assad is behind the attack. I want too see the proof before we, america, attacks Syria in response.
Sep 11, 2013 3:22 AM CDT
For 0bama's true plans, see: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/09/10/second-city-mocks-liberals-supporting-war-americans-whatever-barack-o