This morning Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Obama Administration has not ruled out seeking Security Council authorization for the use of force against Syria:
(Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the United States did not rule out the possibility of returning to the United Nations Security Council to secure a resolution on Syria once U.N. inspectors complete their report.
Speaking at a news conference in Paris with his Qatari counterpart Khaled al-Attiya, Kerry said President Barack Obama had yet to make a decision on the issue.
Here are some of the reasons I think the Obama Administration should present its case for the use of military force against Syria to the United Nations Security Council, indeed, has an obligation to do so:
- “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them”
- We are signatories to a treaty which requires us to seek Security Council approval before using military force against another country other than in cases of self-defense.
- The “Responsibility to Protect” initiative is a new and evolving norm rather than a law and it has never been ratified by the Senate.
- Vladimir Putin has said that he could support military action aginst Syria if the U. S. could produce a convincing case.
- If there is enough time for Congressional approval, there is enough time to present a case to the Security Council.
- A convincing case could attract support from other countries.
- Russia’s blocking of action following the presentation of a convincing case would isolate Russia.
- Attacking Syria without presenting a convincing case would isolate the United States.
- Outrage is not a sufficient cause for attacking another country. At the very least there should be proof beyond reasonable doubt that the Assad regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons against civilians.
- There is reason to be skeptical about the Obama Administration’s claims.
- The downside risks of attacking Syria and then having incontrovertible evidence that the rebels were responsible for the use of chemical weapons (and, especially, that the U. S. was aware of it) would be real and substantial.