It was an ugly situation, where doing something and doing nothing both have potentially serious side effects. Did Trump successfully split the difference, or not?
We knew something was going to have to happen.
As soon as they proclaimed Assad was responsible for the gas attacks on civilians, we were right back in that ‘red line’ territory, and a fork in the road.
Some on both sides of the aisle would suggest Trump pull back and do nothing militarily.
That would have echoed the “Red Line” approach Obama was so roundly criticized for in 2013. Some would argue that inaction was exactly what emboldened some of the players in this drama to escalate to where we are now, and has encouraged both Russia and Iran to be even bolder on the world stage.
It would also have given both Iran and Russia greater authority and influence to become even more entrenched as regional powers. Seeing how both of those countries have treated their various neighbors in recent years, doing nothing carries risks.
We all know how the news media would have pounced on any opportunity to say that Trump was doing something that agreed with Putin in even the smallest degree.
On the other hand, we really, really, do not want to get embroiled in another significant and drawn out conflict.
For one thing, the rebels fighting against Assad, however bad Assad might be, are not exactly pristine themselves. In 2016, they made the news after beheading a 12-year-old boy who was alleged to be fighting on the other side.
To say the least, ‘it’s complicated’.
It’s further complicated by claims that Obama tried (and failed) to overthrow their NATO neighbor, Turkey. And by the Russians being the ‘guarantors’ that Syria would not possess any such weapons.
A senior U.S. disarmament official says Russia has violated its commitments as guarantor of the destruction of Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpile and failed to prevent President Bashar al-Assad’s government from using them.
All those things considered, it is in the best interest of people worldwide if we do not allow the use of chemical weapons to become ‘normalized’.
The attack on Syrian targets by American, British and French forces on targets specifically relating to chemical weapons production, storage and delivery, while leaving the airports untouched was an attempt to show unified opposition to the use of chemical weapons, without being an effort to destabilize or overthrow the already fragile regime.
The targets were specifically NOT targeting civilians so much as the equipment and systems.
What do you think? Did Trump’s response successfully ‘split the difference’?