TAPPER: Has the administration given any thought to imposing an arms quarantine surrounding Syria to prevent them from getting arms from other countries?
CARNEY: I don’t have a preview for you of potential next steps. We are regularly consulting with our allies and partners around the world, with members of the Security Council and the broader Friends of Syria group about potential next steps. But I don’t have anything specific for you, and nothing on that specific possibility.
TAPPER: When’s the last time — I know that there’s a deputies meeting roughly every week or so on the subject of Syria. When’s the last time there was one of these meetings?
CARNEY: I’d have to check with you on that. There are regular meetings on Syria. This is obviously, on the international stage, a matter of great and intense focus right now because of the horrific brutalization of the Syrian people and the need for the international community to take actions.
TAPPER: And lastly, Jay, I understand that the position of the administration and concern that military action would only cause more harm than good, at least at this stage. On a human level, what is it like for the president to see these reports, to hear and — about the brutalization of infants, of children in Syria? And how difficult is it for him to go through this knowing that he — or believing, as he does, that there’s nothing he can do about it? And does it change his resolve at all? Does it change his desire to take action or find more or other ways to do something?
CARNEY: Well, it bolsters his resolve when it comes to the need to do everything the United States can — do everything the United States can, both independently and in working with and — our partners, to try to bring about a change in that dynamic in Syria.
It horrifies him, as it does anybody who witnesses or watches the reports on what’s happening in Syria.
You know, the brutality exhibited by Assad is — will surely doom him in history as a tyrant and a human rights violator and the worst kind of leader imaginable for any people.
AP REPORTER: Can I follow up?
CARNEY: The — hold on — the president is very aware of that. And when he makes judgments he obviously takes in account — into account that kind of suffering. He has to make judgments with all considerations in mind beginning with the national security interests of the United States of America. And he has to make practical judgments about what steps we can take, both acting alone and in concert with partners, to bring about the result that we want and that is best for the United States as well as for the Syrian people. And that’s what he’s doing.
There is no question that, as mighty as the United States is, that we cannot end all atrocities around the globe. It is a fact that we need to work with our partners and allies to take the kinds of actions that can reduce that kind of appalling behavior in different parts of the — of the globe. You have to be very focused on the decision-making process and what you are doing as the United States of America to bring about the desired result and making sure you’re not taking actions that create unintended consequences that are bad for the United States and bad, in some cases, for the very people you’re trying to help.
That is the way that the president looks at all these sorts of problems. It’s the way he looked at the situations in Egypt, in Yemen, in Libya, as well as the way he looks at it in Syria.