Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Syria Crisis as Seen from our Embassy in Reykjavik

I have observed with interest the public debate in Iceland about the crisis in Syria and it seems that, on balance, Icelanders and Americans are grappling with many of the same dilemmas:  How to stop the slaughter of innocent civilians by the Assad regime without causing further suffering?  How to stop the use of chemical weapons by a regime that until recently had never acknowledged having them?  How to test whether Assad is serious about turning his chemical weapons over to the international community?  Should U.S. efforts to build an international consensus be supported?  These are all valid questions that need to be addressed carefully.  In doing so, I would urge Icelanders to examine the path taken by President Obama and to think about the case that President Obama made to the American people last night. Click to watch the Presidents remarks. He closed his remarks with this:  “America is not the world’s policeman.  Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong.  But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act.  That’s what makes America different.  That’s what makes us exceptional.  With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.”