Supported by

Atlantic Interviews

Obama's 'Red Line' That Wasn't

Mar 10, 2016 | 34 videos
Video by The Atlantic

In August of 2012, Barack Obama made a statement that Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons would constitute a “red line.” When Assad’s army killed more than 1,400 people with sarin gas one year later, the president initially believed that he would carry out a strike. Atlantic national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg takes us inside the day that Obama broke with the Washington playbook with his last-minute decision not to bomb Syria. To read more about the president’s foreign policy legacy, read The Atlantic’s April 2016 cover story, “The Obama Doctrine.”

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to

Authors: Daniel Lombroso, Jeffrey Goldberg

About This Series

Conversations with Atlantic authors and leaders in politics, business, and culture