In its review of Stephen L. Carter’s book, “Integrity,” the Cleveland Plain Dealer said:
"In a measured and sensible voice, Carter attempts to document some of the paradoxes and pathologies that result from pervasive ethical realism... If the modern drift into relativism has left us in a cultural and political morass, Carter suggests that the assumption of personal integrity is the way out."
And as Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway in 2009, "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," he said:
"The words of the international community must mean something. Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable."
The assumption of personal integrity would appear to be the way out of the cultural and political morass of the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons. There is no relativism in this from his perspective, and while others ascribe to his taking this decision some sort of blundering – one frequently hears the phrase ‘painted his way into a corner,’ there is an alternative interpretation that is backed up by his rhetoric five years ago; and in his vote against America’s moving forward in the military action against Iraq.
Today, in his weekly address, the President began by acknowledging the possibility for a diplomatic solution in Syria, adding that he believes this occurred “partially because of the credible threat of U.S. military force:”
"Russia has joined the international community in pushing Syria to give up its chemical weapons—which were used to kill more than 1,000 people on August 21 —and the U.S. will take steps to ensure this is not a stalling tactic. We will also maintain our military posture in the region and remain prepared to act if diplomacy fails.
This allows us to achieve our goal of deterring the Syrian regime from using chemical weapons, degrade their ability to use them, and make it clear to the world that we won’t tolerate their use, in order to preserve a world free from the fear of chemical weapons for our children.”
The President reiterated that he has asked Congress “to postpone a vote on the use of military force while we pursue this diplomatic path,” and provided an update on the progress of the talks between Secretary of State Kerry and his Russian counterpart.
Clarifying again that any agreement must include the provision for verification that both Russia and the Assad regime will be keeping their commitments to turn over Syria’s chemical weapons to international control, to be destroyed:
“This would allow us to achieve our goal – deterring the Syrian regime from using chemical weapons, degrading their ability to use them, and making it clear to the world that we won’t tolerate their use.
”As recently as a week ago, the Assad regime would not admit that it possessed chemical weapons. Today, it does. Syria has signaled a willingness to join with 189 other nations, representing 98 percent of humanity, in abiding by an international agreement that prohibits the use of chemical weapons. And Russia has staked its own credibility on supporting this outcome. These are all positive developments.
We need to see concrete actions to demonstrate that Assad is serious about giving up his chemical weapons. And since this plan emerged only with a credible threat of U.S. military action, we will maintain our military posture in the region to keep the pressure on the Assad regime. And if diplomacy fails, the United States and the international community must remain prepared to act.
The use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world is an affront to human dignity and a threat to the security of people everywhere.
As I have said for weeks, the international community must respond to this outrage. A dictator must not be allowed to gas children in their beds with impunity. And we cannot risk poison gas becoming the new weapon of choice for tyrants and terrorists the world over.
We have a duty to preserve a world free from the fear of chemical weapons for our children. But if there is any chance of achieving that goal without resorting to force, then I believe we have a responsibility to pursue that path.>
Both the audio and the video of the address are available online.