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At the Group of 20 summit in Russia, President Obama faced growing opposition from world leaders Thursday, advising him not to launch military strikes in Syria as punishment for a chemical-weapons attack.
President Obama's about-face on seeking congressional authorization to strike Syria was ultimately a political decision. On the one hand, he claims it is not legally necessary, and yet he knows he's politically vulnerable. Thus he punted to Congress, demanding authorization to bolster support.
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged President Obama on Saturday not to rush into a decision on striking Syria, but to consider whether strikes would help end the violence and be worth the civilian casualties they would inevitably cause.
British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote endorsing military action against Syria by 13 votes Thursday, a stunning defeat for a government which had been poised to join the U.S. in strikes to punish Bashar Assad's regime for an alleged chemical weapons attack this month.
The United Nations inspectors looking into the suspected use of chemical weapons by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad are expected to finish their work before the end of the week.
It has taken eight days for the major players to stake out their territory after the chemical attacks on civilians in Syria. The emerging strategic messages and responses are under the magnification of many journalists who pine to shield President Obama from any comparisons to former President George W. Bush, and the challenges he faced in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has tossed into the ring of international possibilities for action in Syria a stark warning: If chemical weapons really were used, the world should react with force.
President Obama's "red line" for Syria is once again being tested after rebel forces said Wednesday that the regime of President Bashar Assad used poison gas to attack civilians near Damascus, killing potentially hundreds in what could turn out to be the deadliest deployment of chemical weapons yet.
In her debut performance as national security adviser, confronting the Egypt crisis, Susan E. Rice (and her boss, President Obama) failed miserably.