The U.S. president refused to blink after Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech aimed to talk Obama out of military intervention during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg.
However, Obama managed to talk into nine out of 20 powerful nations plus Spain to join the United States in signing an approval for a military strike against the Assad government.
According to a senior U.S. official, German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to join the Obama team because she wanted to let the European Union have a chance to weigh in first.
Leaders of the G20, which are linked t0 90 percent of the world economy and two-thirds of population, forget about their disputes to unite behind a call for growth and jobs and agreed the global economy was on the mend but not out of crisis, writes The Huffington Post.
However, the world leaders have not come to a concrete decision regarding the Syrian government, despite a 20-minute one-on-one talk between Obama and Putin on Friday, following a tense group discussion on the civil war over dinner late on Thursday.
“We hear one another, and understand the arguments but we don’t agree. I don’t agree with his arguments, he doesn’t agree with mine,” Putin told a closing news conference dominated by questions about Syria.
By the way, summit participants admitted the growing tensions between Putin and Obama. The U.S. president said credit was due to Putin for facilitating the long discussion of the situation in Syria.
Obama explained his decision for a military response to what the official Washington says was a chemical weapons attack carried out by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that killed more than 1,400 people on Aug. 21.
“Failing to respond to this breach of this international norm would send a signal to rogue nations, authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations, that they can develop and use weapons of mass destruction and not pay a consequence. And that’s not the world that we want to live in,” Obama told a separate news conference.
The U.S. president refused to speak of his actions regarding a military strike in Syria if the lawmakers opposed it, but said most G20 leaders condemned the use of chemical weapons even if they disagreed whether to use force without going through the United Nations.
“The majority of the room is comfortable with our conclusion that Assad, the Assad government, was responsible for their use,” he said.
China announced that the military intervention in Syria would damage the global economy by pushing up oil prices. And although the small country is not a significant oil exporter, the prospect of conflict in the region often pushes up oil prices.
“Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on the oil price – it will cause a hike in the oil price,” said Zhu Guangyao, the Chinese Vice Finance Minister.