US President Barack Obama has failed to rally international support for conducting military strikes on Syria after two days of lobbying in Russia.
Obama, who arrived in St. Petersburg on Thursday to attend the Group of 20 summit, could not persuade foreign leaders to support his war plans as they urged him not to launch any attack without the United Nations’ permission. During a long debate, Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir V. Putin each argued their positions on the issue. Putin argued that a majority of the leaders, including the leaders of China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Germany and South Africa, oppose a military strike independent of the United Nations. Not only did the Russian president oppose military action against Syria, but he also rejected Washington and its allies’ allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an attack last month. “We hear each other and understand the arguments,” Putin said. “We simply don’t agree with them. I don’t agree with his arguments and he doesn’t agree with mine, but we hear and try to analyze.” The only members of the Group of 20 nations which supported Obama were Canada, France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Putin added. Nevertheless, Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, said Australia, Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain and South Korea could also be added to the list of US allies supporting an attack on Syria. The US president’s failure to rally international support for his war plans against Syria will make it even more difficult for him to convince US lawmakers and voters to support a strike on Syria. Obama himself said that he had a “hard sell” and that he might not succeed in winning over the US public which, according to polls, still opposes a strike. Obama said that he would lay out his case during an address on Tuesday before Congress votes on a resolution authorizing his administration to attack Syria. According to a whip count by Think Progress, an overwhelming majority of the members of the US House of Representatives are either undecided or likely to vote against a US attack on the Middle Eastern country.