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How Obama's decision on Syria will impact his presidential legacy

by Take Two®

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U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the nation in a live televised speech from the East Room of the White House on September 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama blended the threat of military action with the hope of a diplomatic solution as he works to strip Syria of its chemical weapons. Pool/Getty Images

The Syria crisis has created an unusual situation for President Obama. Initially he was compared to past Presidents like Clinton or FDR, pushing for military intervention despite the public opinion being against it.

RELATED: KPCC live event: California House members seek diplomatic solution for Syria (video)

Comparisons that seem more favorable given the historical significance of WWII and the U.S. intervention in Kosovo.  

Last night President Obama addressed the nation, again making the case that the American people should consider a military strike in Syria:

"Finally, many of you have asked: Why not leave this to other countries, or seek solutions short of force? As several people wrote to me, 'We should not be the world's policeman.' I agree, and I have a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions. Over the last two years, my administration has tried diplomacy and sanctions, warning and negotiations. But chemical weapons were still used by the Assad regime."

Many have painted the crisis as a turning or defining moment in President Obama's legacy,

Will it be like Ronald Reagan's call to destroy the Berlin Wall? Or maybe Bill Clinton's actions in Kosovo? Both have been viewed as impressive stances. 

Or could it be compared to Jimmy Carter's ineffective handling of the Iran hostage crisis?

For more we're joined by Professor Gerhard Peter with the University of California, Santa Barbara and the American Presidency Project.

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