By Julian Hattem - 09/07/13 06:14 PM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry is warning that Americans’ and Europeans’ security could be at risk if the international community does not intervene in Syria.
Speaking passionately after meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris, Kerry said that the possibility that chemical weapons allegedly being used by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad could fall into terrorists’ hands could pose a direct threat to the United States.
“If these weapons fall into their hands, every American and everybody in Europe should be concerned. Sarin gas was used in the Tokyo subway,” he said, referring to a 1995 attack in the Japanese capital.
Aside from the United States, France has been among the most prominent countries to remain open to a military intervention in Syria.
However, French officials have said they will wait to endorse a strike until United Nations inspectors issue their report on whether or not the Syrian government used chemical weapons, which could take weeks. French President Francois Hollande has also said that his country will not act alone in Syria.
Though the European Union and other countries have said that a response should come through the United Nations Security Council, Kerry said that opposition from Russia and China have made that route impossible. That should not prevent the U.S. from acting, however, he maintained.
“Are we supposed to turn away because the U.N. itself has become a tool of ideology or of individual nations, and not say that the principle that we put in place and have fought for all of these years is going to be thrown away? I don’t think so,” he said.
Kerry said that the whole world had a stake in the future security of Syria.
“This matters to Americans as a matter of security,” he said. “The stability of the Middle East matters to Americans. It matters to Americans whether or not Syria implodes and breaks apart and there are ungoverned spaces for terrorists to call the shots.”
Opponents of American military action have worried about extremist elements in the Syrian opposition, including factions aligned with al Qaeda.