WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama said he recognizes the world and the U.S. are war-weary in the face of potential military action against Syria.
But he said the United States has an obligation "as a leader in the world" to hold countries accountable if they violate international norms.
Obama said he has strong preference for multilateral action but also said, quote, "we don't want the world to be paralyzed."
Regarding the U.N., Obama said, quote, "there is an incapacity for the Security Council to move forward."
Despite a vote in Britain against taking action in Syria, Obama indicated that France is with him.
Obama's comments came as his administration made its intelligence case against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad for a chemical attack against civilians earlier this month.
President Obama said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he said he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to the chemical weapons attack.
Obama said that attack was a challenge to the world and threatens U.S. national security.
The U.S. said the attack killed more than 1,400 people.
If the U.S. took action in Syria, President Obama could become the first U.S. leader in three decades to attack a foreign nation without broad international support or in direct defense of Americans.
Not since President Ronald Reagan ordered an invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada in 1983 has the U.S. been so alone in pursuing major lethal military action beyond a few attacks responding to strikes or threats against its citizens.
It's a policy turnabout for Obama, a Democrat who took office promising to limit U.S. military intervention.
But he has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that use of chemical weapons in its two-year civil war would be a "red line" that would provoke a strong U.S. response.