“I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.” As I sat on the couch surrounded by friends Tuesday night, we all knew the gravity of what was just said. President Barack Obama addressed the nation about the crisis in Syria on Sept. 10. The buildup to this moment was hectic to say the least.
When it was brought to public light that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, the international community was outraged. Since then we’ve seen a slew of opinions from the political left and right. Some pushed for action while others pleaded that the President keep us out of it. Wednesday night Obama ended these debates.
Obama stressed that taking offensive actions in another country’s civil war would not help the situation. He further asserted that we are not the “world police“ and our main priority as a country is our economy. He explained our role as a world power is to send messages of moral responsibility, when they are low-risk situations.
Obama also used this as an opportunity to do what I call “flexing.“ With comments such as, “Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver.” Obama made it clear that he knows what we are capable of, but he also knows what must be done.
The international community has been working to propose a solution as well. With Russia leading the diplomatic efforts, countries such as France and the United Kingdom have shown support for a plan that doesn’t include violence. Obama acknowledged and announced that we are joining this initiative as well by sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart.
We all know what a war can do a country’s economy, but this is different. Like Obama stressed, this is a serious moral issue. We cannot allow a country to do something as heinous as this with little to no consequences. We may not be the “world police,” but we are a world power and this is something worth flexing for.