Essential Pittsburgh
2:16 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

America's Role in Global Conflicts

President Obama made his case, Tuesday night for a punitive strike against the Syrian government, if diplomatic efforts fail.
President Obama made his case, Tuesday night for a punitive strike against the Syrian government, if diplomatic efforts fail.
Credit Lawrence Jackson / Whitehouse.gov

Last night the President made his case for retaliation in Syria, in response to the chemical attack on August 21st, in the suburbs of Damascus.

Although he stated that he was willing to try diplomacy one last time, President Obama said Bashar Assad’s act of terrorism should not go unanswered.

“The President made a strong case and he laid out his reasons, but I don’t think that it swayed many people despite the fact that he made the best case that he possibly could,” says Dr. Taylor Seybolt, Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

In fact, polls show that most Americans are not in favor of a strike in Syria.

“I don’t think he answered the basic questions. He didn’t answer ‘Is this going to be effective?’ or ‘Why this case? Why not the many other countries where terrible human rights abuses are occurring?’” says Professor Jules Lobel, constitutional law professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Both professors contend that strict isolationism is not the answer. “ We can be much less militaristic than we have been in past decades, but to remove ourselves from the international realm would not work,” says Seybolt.