In a primetime address initially intended to rally the nation behind military strikes in Syria, President Obama on Tuesday evening told the American people he is hopeful that a peaceful solution to the conflict is in sight.
In doing so, however, the president made perhaps the strongest case of his presidency for American moral and strategic leadership in the world. In a 15-minute speech, he warned that a failure to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons will embolden America’s enemies, such as al-Qaeda and Iran. “Sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough,” he said, emphasizing that “our ideals and principles — as well as our national security — are at stake in Syria.”
But with the United States now engaged in negotiations with Syria through the U.N. Security Council intended to compel Assad to hand over his chemical weapons stockpile, the president expressed a “deeply held preference for peaceful solutions.”