WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration on Friday deployed U.S. ambassador to UN Samantha Power to make the case for a military strike against Syria, even if it is unlikely to win UN backing.
Delivering a speech at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank Power said the alleged chemical weapons use in Syria represents "one of the most critical foreign policy challenges" facing the United States, as it could threaten regional stability and non-proliferation regime, while the American public remain ambivalent to overseas military venture after more than 10 years of war.
Staking the claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemical weapons in the civil war, Power said the United States has to act even without UN backing, because "there is something different about chemical warfare," in its ability to kill indiscriminately large numbers of people in gruesome ways. The Syrian government denies the U.S. accusation.
"Some have asked why U.S. can't use non-military tools in response to Syria, my answer is we have exhausted the alternatives, " said Power, claiming attempts to resolve the issue through the UN have been repeatedly blocked.
"We would if we could" work this through the UN Security Council, Power said, claiming it would be "naive" to think Russia would change its mind about taking action on Syria.
Countries around the world have called for diplomatic approach to end the Syrian civil war, while the United Nations awaits a report from its chemical weapons inspectors, who have completed its mission in Syria, to establish an evidentiary base for further international action.
Describing the proposed U.S. military action against Syria as " limited and tailored narrowly to the chemical weapons threat," Power said it would also degrade the Syrian regime's "ability to strike at civilian population by conventional means."
Combined with "ongoing efforts to upgrade the military capabilities of the moderate opposition," the United States believes the operation could strengthen its diplomatic approach to "achieve a negotiated settlement to the underlying conflict," he said.
After deciding to seek Congressional approval for his plan of a military strike against Syria, U.S. President Barack Obama found himself facing a reluctant Congress with sluggish support for the venture, partly because of low public support for the plan. The White House is trying to persuade lawmakers as well as the public on this matter, and Obama is to address the nation next week.
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In an interview with National Public Radio, Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said despite the fact Obama "has the authority" to act on Syria without Congressional consent, "it's neither his (Obama's) desire nor intention to use that authority absent Congress backing him." Full story
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