First let me start by saying that I am of two minds on the Syrian strike. I have been watching the debate rage back and forth all day across every social media platform. If the decision is clear cut for you on what the appropriate action should have been congratulations. For me situations like this are always difficult because they are not black and white. On one hand you have serious atrocities being committed against women and children and on the other you have a quagmire in which America has been seemingly stuck for the last 20 years. I think in the end when President Trump did the cost benefit analysis there were just too many factors leading him to move forward with the strike against the airbase when weighed against inaction.
- Something needed to be done. I don’t buy into conspiracy theories and this includes the rebels using a gas attack on their own people. The Syrian government already has a history of this type of behavior. We know that even though the UN has a standing resolution against Syria’s continued use of chemical weapons any response that they would have mustered would have been ineffectual. While I think America cannot involve itself in every dispute, there are some actions that should draw a shift and powerful rebuke from the US each and every time that they occur… using chemical weapons on children is one of them.
- Striking at Syria would restore some of America’s lost credibility on the world stage. For the last eight years Obama was willing to lead from the rear. A good portion of the reason why Syria thought they could do this again was the way that Obama handled the last red line. You cannot draw a line in the sand and then not deal out consequences when they are crossed. The world has been put on notice that during the Trump presidency the nonsense that was allowed with the previous administration will not continue.
- It was a powerful lesson for more than just Syria. We have Iran, North Korea, China, Russia and ISIS challenging the US at every turn. Sometimes the path to peace is to project strength. The leaders of each of these countries has now been put on notice that America will stand for our values if needed and will act unilaterally if required.
- It proved that President Trump is willing to act against the interest of Russia. The entire Russian collusion narrative hinges on Russia controlling Trump and having him take actions that are beneficial to their country. Considering that Syria is an ally of Russia destroying one of their airbases is certainly not in Russia’s interests.
- It gains leverage in Syria to push for creating safe zones to care for the displaced. This might be the opening that President Trump needs to move forward with his plan to care for the refugees in their home country which would go a long way to dealing with one of his top priorities concerning security and vetting of immigrants.
Many people will continue to disagree with President Trump’s actions. I think in this particular case the strike was warranted. This being said I do find the regime change talking points coming from the administration to be troubling. We should have learned from the previous administration that monkeying around in installing governments never works out the way it is planned. This action should not be the spring board to a prolonged and costly engagement against Syria. Now that the air strikes are completed the Syrian government should be given a chance to make amends and assist in the creation of safe zones to care for the displaced populations. They should be warned that any additional use of chemical weapons will be met with an increasing set of consequences and sanctions. The Trump administration should develop an outline of strategies for dealing with any additional behaviors of this type from Syria and work to ensure that both houses of congress stand behind these general strategies to show the world a united front. My hope is that President Trump’s swift and decisive action will have the desired effect that we will have to engage in less of these types of interventions. My tool of choice for US foreign policy is usually a scalpel, but when you use chemical weapons you make yourself a nail.