President Barack Obama defended his position to stay away from the civil war in Syria during a joint press conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the White House today.
Referring to those who may doubt his leadership, especially when it comes to a red line, Obama referred his critics to Osama bin Laden and Libya's former leader Gaddafi.
"Understandably, thereâ€™s a desire for easy answers," Obama said about Syria. "Thatâ€™s not the situation there. And my job is to constantly measure our very real and legitimate humanitarian and national security interests in Syria, but measuring those against my bottom line, which is whatâ€™s in the best interests of Americaâ€™s security and making sure that Iâ€™m making decisions not based on a hope and a prayer but on hard-headed analysis in terms of what will actually make us safer and stabilize the region."
"There'd be severe costs in doing nothing. That's why we're not doing nothing," Obama added.
"You've suggested, even in your question, a perceived crossing of a red line," Obama said to a reporter. "The operative word there, I guess, Stephen, is the word 'perceived.' And what I've said is that we have evidence that there has been the use of chemical weapons inside of Syria. But, I donâ€™t make decisions based on 'perceived,' and I canâ€™t organize international coalitions around 'perceived."
"We've tried that in the past, by the way, and it didn't work out well. So we want to make sure that we have the best analysis possible. We want to make sure we are acting deliberately," Obama added.
"I would just point out that there have been several instances during the course of my presidency where I said I was going to do something, and it ended up getting done," Obama said, referring to his red line in Syria. "And there were times when there were folks on the sidelines wondering, 'Why hasnâ€™t it happened yet?' and 'What's going on?' and 'Why didnâ€™t it go on tomorrow?'"
"But in the end, whether itâ€™s bin Laden or Gaddafi, if we say weâ€™re taking a position, I would think at this point the international community has a pretty good sense that we typically follow through on our commitments," Obama concluded.