President Obama argued that it's America's job to enforce international norms.

by James Towe

Tonight, the president repeated the administration's arguments in support of a Syrian attack. He discussed international norms and standards; how the Assad regime violated those norms. The evidence presented was the no more enlightening than what we already knew. 

Mr Obama made several references to 'the regime' carrying out a chemical attack. It's no secret that the Syrian defense ministry was upset with panicked phone calls, intercepted by US intelligence, following the event (Link). The president worked around the issue of responsibility by blanketing it with 'the regime'. 

Considering the chaotic circumstances in that country, I'm not sure if a US attack would punish Assad or just Syrians in general. If Assad didn't order the attack, and it was executed by a rogue commander, our missiles would accomplish nothing positive. Their use would add only to the general confusion of the conflict and likely kill innocents.

John Kerry's gaffe rescued a rapidly devolving situation. 

The president concluded by finding cover with the Kerry/Russian proposal. Syria will hand over its chemical weapons to the international community, if the US promises not to attack Assad. Suddenly, it's America and Syria bickering and the grown-up Russians come to the rescue. With this development, Mr Obama was able to delay a congressional vote nearly certain to fail. 

The president has been again out maneuvered by Vladimir Putin. Russia taking the lead with Iran and China smiling in the background is a major defeat for this president. A failure certain to embolden our adversaries, especially Iran. 

It has been a very unfortunate several days for the United States. The world understands that we stand leaderless for the next 40 months.