Every administration leaks classified national security information, and every president tries to stop it. Here are a few.
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The ratcheting up of violence in Syria, including the massacres of civilians in Houla and Qubair, is placing extraordinary pressure on the Obama administration to match its tough anti-atrocities rhetoric with practical action. The pending failure of the Annan peace plan, and the former secretary-general's declaration that the country is headed for "all-out civil war," is quickly driving the White House toward an unenviable election-year choice: either sit back and watch the carnage, or forge an ad hoc coalition to prevent Syrian depredations. Senior administration officials have made it clear that if the UN Security Council (UNSC) fails to "assume its responsibilities," in the words of U.S. envoy Susan E. Rice, "members of this council and members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they're prepared to take actions outside of the Annan Plan and the authority of this council."
For Washington, it's put up or shut up time.
Nearly seven years ago world leaders unanimously endorsed a new international principle, the "responsibility to protect." This would-be norm establishes the sovereign obligation of all states to prevent atrocities from being committed on their territories. When a regime fails to do so (or commits atrocities itself), that responsibility devolves to the international community, which may take a series of escalating steps including armed intervention to protect the country's inhabitants.