President Barack Obama personally empathized with the victims of the Syrian conflict during a speech today, even as he touted his decision not to intervene to stop it with military force.
“In Syria, the suffering in the civil war has been heartbreaking,” he said. “To see a nation shattered and hundreds of thousands killed, and millions driven from their homes.”
Obama admitted that he could see the faces of his own children in the faces of those suffering violence in Syria.
“It is gut-wrenching,” he admitted. “As a father, I look at Syria’s children and I see my own.”
Obama made his remarks during a commencement speech to the United States Air Force Academy in which he defended his foreign policy decisions as president.
It’s not the first time that Obama has seen the faces of his own children in suffering minorities.
“I see my daughters, and my nieces, and my nephews,” Obama said during the 2012 presidential campaign, referring to illegal immigrants who he argued deserved amnesty.
“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said in March 2012 referring to the death of the young man Trayvon Martin that sparked protests across the United States.
During t same speech at the Air Force Academy, Obama argued that the U.S. could not shirk it’s global responsibilities.
“We can’t be isolationists. It’s not possible in this globalized interconnected world,” he said. “In these uncertain times, it’s tempting sometimes to pull back and try to wash our hands of conflicts that seem intractable, let other countries fend for themselves.”
Later in the speech, however, Obama mocked Russia and Iran for getting “sucked into a quagmire” by spending their resources to prop up Bashar Al-Assad.
“As president of the United States, I’ve made a different choice,” Obama said, “The only real solution to the Syrian conflict is a political solution including a transition away from Assad and that takes diplomacy.”