A Critical Opportunity for American Leadership

The Obama Administration has failed to act decisively in the past year in support of Syrian opposition forces seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad from power, said GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the final debate with President Obama before next month’s presidential election. “We should have taken a leading role, not militarily, but a leading role organizationally, governmentally to bring together the [opposition] parties” and promote the establishment of “a responsible government” in Assad’s place, asserted Romney during the Oct. 22 foreign policy debate in Boca Raton, Fla. “We are playing the leadership role,” countered Obama. “We’re doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate Syrian leadership and an effective transition so that we get Assad out.” Obama cautioned that “for us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step, and we have to do so making absolutely certain that we know who we are helping; that we’re not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually could turn them against us or allies in the region.” (Debate transcript)