WASHINGTON -- In a much anticipated address to the nation, President Barack Obama cited recent efforts of diplomacy as the key reason the United States would delay military action against Syria and the Bashar al-Assad regime.
The president stressed that the U.S. military would "maintain their current posture to keep the pressure on Assad and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails."
President Obama laid out his case for action against Syria, citing U.S. intelligence evidence that showed Assad used chemical warfare to kill more than 1,000 people on Aug. 21 and saying the horrific events on that day changed the way the world viewed Assad.
"The images from this massacre are sickening: men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas, others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath, a father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk," Obama said.
"Let me make something clear," Obama said. "The United States military doesn't do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver."
He also acknowledged that America isn't the "world's policeman."
"It is beyond our means to right every wrong, but when with modest effort and risk we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act," Obama said.
Still, diplomacy may be the only way the president can avoid an embarrassing defeat in both the House and Senate, where more lawmakers oppose a strike on Syria than support it. Congressional leaders have already agreed there will be no vote this week.
"There's no clearly defined mission in Syria, no clearly defined American interest in Syria. In fact the Obama administration has specifically stated that no military solution exists," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. said.
With the U.S. involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan still fresh on their minds, nearly two-thirds of Americans are also opposed to a military strike.
But the president insisted this time would be different, vowing he would "not put American boots on the ground in Syria" and assured the public that this would not become another Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or Kosovo.
Still, both the public and lawmakers remained unconvinced.
"I think President Obama presented his case, but he did not convince me," Illinois resident Rohit Chand said.
Meanwhile, there are reports Wednesday that the Russian-backed plan may already be in trouble.
Russia is rejecting U.S. and French calls for a binding U.N. resolution with "very severe consequences" if Syria doesn't comply, saying it won't support any military action against the Assad regime.
Secretary of State John Kerry will head to Russia on Thursday to continue negotiations.