This is the big headline today: “I did not set a red line.”
(added) Transcript via Real Clear Politics:
STEVE HOLLAND, REUTERS: Have you made up your mind whether to take action against Syria whether or not you have a congressional resolution approved? Is a strike needed in order to preserve your credibility for when you set these sort of red lines? And were you able to enlist the support of the prime minister here for support in Syria?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let me unpack the question. First of all, I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war. Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation titled the Syria Accountability Act that some of the horrendous thing that are happening on the ground there need to be answered for. And so, when I said, in a press conference, that my calculus about what’s happening in Syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons, which the overwhelming consensus of humanity says is wrong, that wasn’t something I just kind of made up. I didn’t pluck it out of thin air. There was a reason for it. That’s point number one. Point number two, my credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’ credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important.
People are contrasting it with this August 2012 statement:
This is too important for gamesmanship:
There is an international red line, but Obama also set a red line.
The full press conference is here.
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