On Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry said Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons because he did not fear the United States.
Echoing what he had constantly said during the testimony, Kerry asked senators to “confront the greater reality of what happens” if Congress does not give Obama authorization for military force. Kerry said other nations–like Iran and North Korea–would be emboldened and take after Assad.
“If you think it’s bad today what they’re doing, just think about what happens if they confirm their suspicion that the United States isn’t going to do anything,” Kerry said. “One of the reasons Assad has been using these materials is because they have, up until now, made the calculation that the West, writ large, and the United States, particularly, are not going to do anything about it.”
Kerry said the “longer that this conflict goes on” the “more you will see the humanitarian crisis grow.” He said he would “guarantee” that the perception of America’s weakness was in Assad’s “assessment.”