Bashing the U.N.'s response to the chemical weapons attack in Syria as "shameful," National Security Adviser Susan Rice and her deputy made the case for action on Syria in remarkable synchronicity.
As in: literal synchronicity. Here are Rice, right, and deputy adviser Tony Blinken, left, speaking simultaneously on the issue on Tuesday afternoon.
Both Rice and Blinken were in sync with what they said, too. At Washington, D.C.'s, New America Foundation, Rice argued that the administration had already done everything short of taking military action in response to the "largest chemical weapons attack in a quarter century." Recognizing that Americans are more likely to support strikes if taken in concert with allies, she said:
"The reason president Obama decided to pursue limited strikes is that we and other have already exhausted a host of other measures aimed at changing Assad's calculus and his willingness to use chemical weapons."
"Assad would discover that chemical weapons offer no strategic advantage compared to the cost of their use," Rice predicted, without an "endless spiral of escalatory actions." Assad and his allies would be "more than foolish" to take on the United States.
It is up to the U.S., the former ambassador to the United Nations argued, because the international body would continue to see any response vetoed by Russia and China at the Security Council. "I was there for all of those U.N. debates and negotiations on Syria," she said. "I lived it — and it was shameful."
"There aren't many nonpartisan issues left in Washington," Rice said. "This is one is one of them. Or, at least, it should be."
While Rice concluded her remarks, Blinken answered questions at the White House's daily press briefing. His most interesting response came after being asked about the prospect of deferring attacks in favor of Syria giving up its chemical weapons. "We'll obviously discuss the proposal with the Russians," Blinken said. "But it's clear that this proposal comes in the context of the threat of American action. It's important we not take the pressure off." Here is our full story on that.