The path forward is for the administration to talk to congress, to continue talking to its allies and to speak with the American people. But there is no doubt, based upon this masterful speech given by John Kerry, that this U.S. administration firmly believes the U.S. must and will respond militarily.
Appealing to the left wing of his own party, a vocal sector that is virtually always opposed to military action anywhere, Kerry took a page from what most ardently pro-Israel people have been trying to explain to the world for many years. “Just longing for peace does not bring it about,” Kerry explained.
There was even at least a paragraph of pure patriotism, a few sentences about “who we are” and that we will “make our own decisions on our timeline, based on our values and our own interests.”
Finally, the speech concluded with an assurance that any military action taken by the United States will not resemble what happened “in Iraq, in Afghanistan, or even in Libya.”
“There will be no boots on the ground, there will be a limited and tailored response to and accountability for the use of chemical weapons,” Kerry asserted.
Despite this entire speech laying out the inexorability of the U.S. taking military action against the Syrian regime, the secretary of state nonetheless concluded by stating that “the diplomatic process is the only way to ultimately resolve” the problems in Syria. There has to be a political, not a military, determination in order to move the region forward.
“The most heinous weapons must never again be used against the most vulnerable people,” were the last words, and a reminder again about why and when this administration is prepared to act in a way that seems to contradict what its own base would otherwise expect.
The use of force to block the use of a far greater, obscenely violent response, is the justification for a military response from this pacifist, diplomacy-centric administration.