President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have each made a strong case for the use of US military force to penalize the Syrian regime for its flagrant use of chemical weapons to kill more than 1,000 people earlier this month.
The United States should not use our ground troops to intervene on either side of the Syrian civil war, a conflict in which neither side is likely to be our ally once the dust settles. But states must not be allowed to unleash weapons of mass destruction with impunity— whether on their own populations or a neighboring state.
Such an act should be met with swift and decisive action by the global community, led by the United States. We should not fail to act simply because other nations— allies or not— refuse.
It is disappointing that the president has delayed action, apparently to mollify domestic voices – both hawks and isolationists – who want to modify or block the military action. This delay sends a message of weakness to the world’s other powers and could embolden further use of chemical or biological agents by rogue regimes. That said, we hope that our delegates in Washington will support the president’s efforts to degrade the Syrian arsenal with force. To do otherwise sets a dangerous precedent for our own national security and for the balance of power globally.