President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, left, speaks about the crisis in Syria in the Rose Garden of the White House on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

When Barack Obama announced his determination to strike the Syrian government after it allegedly deployed chemical weapons against civilians, he explained his rationale. “Out of the ashes of world war, we built an international order and enforced the rules that gave it meaning,” he said. “If we won’t enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules?”

The tragic irony is that the U.S. violated a cornerstone of international law at that very moment in the White House Rose Garden. Article two of the United Nations charter not only bars member states from using force, except in self-defense or in conjunction with the international community, it also prohibits states from threatening to use force. Under the charter, it’s the only international norm that countries are empowered to enforce unilaterally.

This is the central paradox of Obama’s promise that he will intervene in Syria without international support if he must.

Continue reading:  http://billmoyers.com/2013/09/06/the-central-irreconcilable-paradox-of-calls-to-strike-syria/

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