Schieffer: Don't let the world question U.S. resolve

A combination of two file pictures made on August 31, 2013, shows President Barack Obama (L) speaking to journalists on April 30, 2013 in Washington and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaking to journalists on December 9, 2010 in Paris. Obama is expected to update Americans today on the way forward in the crisis, amid expectations that Washington will launch air strikes to punish President Bashar al-Assad's regime for using chemical weapons.
FRANCK FIFE,BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

(CBS News) Put aside how we got from there to here; put aside that this may have been poorly handled.

But here we are: the President of the United States drew a line in the sand, a red line.

At this point, that may be the only good reason left for Congress to give him the authority he now asks for, to respond to Syria's use of chemical weapons.

When the President of the United States says something, the rest of the world -- our friends AND our enemies -- pay attention.

If we do not follow through, what impact will that have on North Korea or Iran the next time we warn them of dire consequences if they press on with their nuclear weapons programs?

More important, how will it be viewed by our strong allies like Japan? We have treaties that promise we will retaliate if they are attacked by nuclear powers. Will they now question our resolve?

I don't like anything about where we are. But in a dangerous world, when the United States takes a stand and then goes back on its word, we are left in an even more dangerous place.

CBSNews.com special coverage: Syria crisis

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.