The London Telegraph
Barack Obama has said that the international community's credibility, not his, is at stake over Syria, as he laid out his reasons for wanting to launch a military strike against President Bashar al-Assad.
Mr. Obama said that the world needed to show the Syrian regime that they could not use chemical weapons with impunity.
And he defended his assertion that "a red line" would be crossed by the use of such weapons, arguing that he was simply emphasizing accepted international laws.
"First of all, I didn't set a red line," he said. "The world set a red line.
"So when I said that my calculus would be altered by chemical weapons, which the overall consensus of humanity says is wrong – that's not something I just made up. I didn't pluck it out of thin air.
"My credibility isn't on the line. The international community's credibility is on the line."
Speaking from Sweden at the beginning of a European visit, Mr. Obama warned the world against "finding a reason not to act."
He added: "Because you can always find a reason not to act. This is a complicated situation. But we can send a very strong message. We can change Assad's calculus about using them again. We can degrade his capabilities to use it again. And in the meantime we can engage the entire international community to find a solution."
The American president's attempts to reach a consensus have been hampered by Russia, with President Vladimir Putin declaring hours before Mr. Obama's press conference that Western military action without United Nations backing would be an act of aggression.
Meanwhile the Russian Navy rattled its sabers as a source in the Naval High Command told the Interfax news agency that the Moskva missile cruiser would arrive in the eastern Mediterranean in around 10 days. Russia's forces there were able to "seriously affect the military situation," the source said.
But Mr. Putin said he "doesn't exclude" Moscow voting in favor of a military response at the Security Council if evidence is produced proving the regime was behind the attack.
He said it was "absolutely absurd" to suggest Assad's forces would risk the international consequences of using banned weapons when they were on the front foot in the battle with opposition forces for that part of Damascus.
There needed to be "evidence that would be obvious and prove beyond doubt who did it and what means were used", he said.
Mr. Obama said he had spoken personally to Mr. Putin to try and persuade him to change his mind.
He said that he understood Mr. Putin's concerns about radical elements within the opposition and the territorial integrity of Syria – and the United States shared some of those concerns.
But, he added: "You are going to have to have a political transition. Because it is not possible for Mr. Assad to have political legitimacy in a country where he has killed tens of thousands of his own people."
Mr. Obama said he was "always hopeful" that Mr. Putin could be brought on side – "and I will continue to engage with him."
He continued: "Because I think we can deal with it must more rationally if Russia engages with all this."
Asked by a Swedish journalist whether it was fitting that a man who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize should be instigating an attack, Mr. Obama retorted: "As I said when I collected the Prize, compared to previous recipients, I was certainly unworthy."
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 09/04/2013
Editor's Note: Yup, not worthy is right. But that "responsibility blame game" he launched to distance himself from his "red line" comment is certainly in full swing. Good job Mr. Axelrod, Ms. Dunn and Ms. Cutter...Oh, and you too, Ms. Jarrett...
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