President Barack Obama addressed the nation regarding the crisis in Syria on Tuesday night, saying that he’s asked Congress to postpone a vote to use force while America and its allies seek a diplomatic solution.
Citing recent signals of cooperation from Russia, Obama said that America will work with that country — as well as China, the United Kingdom and France — to convince Syrian president Bashar al-Assad “to give up his chemical weapons and to ultimately destroy them” under international control.
“This initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force,” Obama said.
Nonetheless, the president added, he would keep the U.S. military alerted “to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails.”
While Obama said that the country is better off when the president works with the cooperation of Congress, he also stressed that action must be taken, whether it involves military force or not.
“When dictators commit atrocities they depend on the world to look the other way,” Obama said. “But these things happened, the facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America and what the international community is prepared to do.”
Obama also dismissed the notion that America would engage in extended military action, stating, “My answer is simple; I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.”
The president also dismissed possible retaliation from Syria, saying, “the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military.”
Obama added that he would not seek to remove Assad from power.
Obama, who has been pushing for a military strike on Syria following a chemical weapons attack last month that reportedly left more than 1,000 people dead, made the television rounds on Monday to make his case.
Even so, the president has met resistance within the U.S. government, among international leaders and with the American public itself, the majority of which is opposed to intervention in Syria, according to multiple polls.