The President spoke with President Hollande of France regarding the ongoing violence in Syria, The White House said that the two leaders expressed their grave concern about the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against civilians near Damascus on Wednesday, August 21. President Obama and President Hollande discussed possible responses by the international community and agreed to continue to consult closely.
What are 'possible responses by the international community' and how practical are such responses?
The answer to this depends on your definition of “practical.” There are many things that the international community could do, but some or all of them might be impractical depending on your definition of that term. The answer also depends on what you call the “international community.”
For example, if we define the “international community” as the United Nations, there are very few possible responses. The reason for this is that Russia and China both seem set on preventing any serious action against Syria by the UN. Since they have veto power on the Security Council, it is unlikely that the UN would support any sort of military action.
If we define the “international community” more narrowly, more things become possible. In particular, military action becomes possible. The US could, with a few allies, do a number of things. It could give the rebels more arms and support. It could carry out air strikes. It could actually invade the country.
However, all of these actions are, in some ways, impractical. Simply giving the rebels more arms and support might not allow them to win. So, if “practical” means “likely to topple the Assad regime,” this is not practical. The same goes for air strikes. They might not be enough to topple the regime. As for the invasion, it is not practical because the US probably does not have the resources to carry out such an invasion at this point.
So, if we are looking for options that are sure to topple the regime and which are within the likely capacity of the “international community,” it will be very hard to find any.