This Week in World News: Sept. 9-13

Tuesday, Sept. 10

Syria has been experiencing a civil war since 2011, creating turmoil for the nation as armed rebel forces fight against those of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. In light of recent evidence that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons in the fight against the rebels and in doing so crossed the “red line” President Obama previously warned them of, all eyes have been on the United States and whether or not Obama will choose to stand by his red line and directly intervene in Syria.

    According to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, Americans generally oppose getting involved in Syria at all. Six in 10 people say they don’t approve of military airstrikes and similar numbers of people fear U.S. involvement in Syria could result in another drawn out engagement in the Middle East, reminiscent of Iraq and Afghanistan and also in an increase of terrorist threats to the U.S. These public attitudes as well as the possibility of Congress refusing to approve military action could make it difficult for Obama to proceed with his plans. He has proposed a limited and specific strike against Syria.
     In a national address Tuesday evening, Obama again presented an emotional plea to the nation to support a limited strike on Syria in retaliation of their use of chemical weapons. However, he also admitted to understanding citizens’ hesitance and asked Congress to postpone the vote that would authorize military action in Syria, a vote that Obama will likely lose. In the meantime, Obama said, he will pursue the more diplomatic route and investigate Russia’s proposal to confiscate Syria’s chemical weapons without the use of military force.
     The NY Times’ survey about the U.S.’s potential involvement also seemed to reveal broader trends of American opinion which indicate that a majority of Americans believe that the U.S. should not take a leading role in resolving foreign conflicts or attempting to install democracies where there are currently dictatorships unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. How the remainder of the crisis in Syria will play out, remains to be seen.