Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2016, came out publicly Monday in support of President Obama’s push for limited military strikes on Syria, or using the threat of a strike to encourage Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to international authorities.
The use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against its people “violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order, and therefore it demands a strong response from the international community led by the United States,” Clinton said.
Clinton’s remarks, which she made from the White House following a meeting with the president, marked her most significant entrée yet into the debate over how and whether the U.S. should intervene in Syria.
She insisted U.S. intervention would benefit the Syrian people as well as American allies in the Middle East. A Russian proposal for Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons stockpiles to international control would be "an important step," she said, and emphasized that such a discussion "only could take place in the context of a credible military threat to keep pressure on the Syrian government as well as those supporting Syria, like Russia."
Clinton also pushed for an ultimate "political solution" in Syria to end the country's civil war.
Another former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, recently added her voice to those backing the president’s plan. But, until Monday, Clinton remained relatively quiet, affirming her support for the president by way of an aide, but offering scarce additional comment. That silence sparked widespread criticism and speculation about her stance.
The issue has been a tricky one politically for members of Congress who will need to vote on a resolution to authorize military action, and most 2016 contenders not in Congress have avoided staking out a position that might prove detrimental in the long run.