UK Parliament Rejects Military Action in Syria; Enough to Pull US Back From Intervention?

No plan to bring Congress back to debate the issue


will it matter across the pond?
Adrian Pinkstone/Wikimedia Commons

David Cameron lost a non-binding vote in Parliament on British intervention in Syria, which nevertheless appears to have tied his hands on the issue; he issued a statement saying it was clear to him the British people did not want to see the United Kingdom intervene militarily in Syria.

In the United States, Congress does not return to session until September 9, and there are no plans to bring them back early to approve the military action against Syria President Obama is contemplating. 116 members of Congress, including 18 Democrats, sent a letter to the White House stressing that US military intervention in Syria without the authorization of Congress would be unconstitutional, as it was in Libya. The US intervention in Libya was initiated while Congress was out of session and the president himself was in Brazil. The Congress, however, failed to defund the mission in Libya or to pass any substantive measure asserting the violation of their authority in making war there. 

In 2011, the US was pushed into intervention in Libya largely by Great Britain and France. Will it be Europe that this time pulls the US out of intervening in Syria or will the latest news from the United Kingdom be inconsequential to whether Obama decides to pull the trigger on getting militarily involved? Interventionists suffered another blow when US intelligence officials insisted linking the chemical weapons attack in Syria to Bashar Assad himself was no slam dunk. A fifth U.S. destroyer is nevertheless headed to the eastern Mediterranean.