Obama on Syria: 'Sometimes We Must Make Hard Choices'; Will Address Nation From WH on Tuesday
President Obama responded to reporters' questions at a press conference held in Russia on Friday, and it's no surprise that Syria dominated the conversation. A reporter from the Associated Press asked the president to identify which countries expressed support for taking action against Syria for its apparent gassing of hundreds of people.
In his response, the president said that a source of divide comes in regards to the involvement of the United Nations. Some nations feel, the president stated, that any action taken against Syria should come only after a resolution is passed by the Security Council. However, the president said he "puts himself in the camp" of those nations who believe that if "we are serious about upholding a ban on chemical weapons," then action must be taken ... and such action will not come through a UN resolution.
President Obama continued, stating that he would "greatly prefer" working through the United Nations, but "ultimately, what I believe in even more deeply ... because I think that the security of the world [...] requires that when there's a breach this brazen, of a norm this important, and [...] the international community is paralyzed and frozen and doesn't act ... then that norm begins to unravel."
If the world allows the norm to unravel to a greater degree, he said, this would lead to a "dangerous world."
In an emphatic moment, the president reiterated the shocking statistics.
"Over 1,400 people were gassed. [pause] Over 400 of them were children. [pause] This is not something we've fabricated," he said.
"I was elected to end wars, not start them. I've spent the last four years doing everything I can to reduce our reliance on military power to meet our international obligations and protect the American people. But what I also know is that there are times when we have to make hard choices to stand up for what we believe in."