President Barack Obama has explained his approach to the Syria crisis, weaving a way through arguments for diplomacy and military action.
In his Address to the Nation he said the US could not stand by and watch children gassed but he would give the Russian diplomatic initiative on Syria a chance to work.
“It’s too early to tell if this offer will succeed and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies. I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorise the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path.”
Obama stressed US forces would remain on standby if the diplomatic route failed.
However support for military intervention had been waning in Congress among war-weary lawmakers.
A diplomatic resolution to the crisis might be a lifeline for a leader whose credibility has been in question.