President Trump launches a missile strike on Syria after a chemical weapons attack. Will the intervention escalate into another US mideast war; or can it help end the brutal civil conflict?
A limited proportionate attack or the beginning of another American war in the mideast?
Hi. I’m Leon Hawthorne. We’re talking about America’s Cruise Missile strike on a Syrian military base following Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons.
President Trump says Syrian leader, Bashar Al Assad is to blame for the sarin gas attack on Idlib. Last night, this was his response…
The US fired 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles from its warships in the Mediterranean, hitting the Shayrat Airfield, that the US says, was used for the sarin gas attack.
President Trump went on TV to explain his actions…
“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council.”
Now, Trump had no real choice. America’s credibility was damaged when President Obama backed down from using force in 2013. Trump had to show not just Syria, but also North Korea, Iran and other potential foes, they could not amass weapons of mass destruction with impunity.
The question is: is that it? The Americans warned Russia of the air strikes on Syria, so they could get out of the way. They didn’t want to kill any Russians or get into a dog fight, which could have accidentally escalated this intervention.
So, does Trump now call it a day? As long as Assad doesn’t use any more chemical weapons, he can get back to business as usual?
Look, a few days ago, Trump was addressing construction workers in Washington, where he said his top priority was rebuilding the American infrastructure and creating jobs. He went on to say this…
“I’m not and I don’t want to be the President of the World. I am President of the United States and from now on, it’s going to be America First.”
That was interpreted, consistent with his inaugural address, that he did not want America to be the policeman of the world. Unlike Obama and Clinton, he had no intention of getting embroiled in foreign wars.
His overseas objectives were to stop radical Islamic terrorism and to boost American trade.
But then Idlib happened. Scores of children were pictured on television gasping their last breaths following a sarin gas attack.
America says with certainty the Assad regime is to blame, but the Russians say there is no proof of that. They claim the Syrian air force hit a cache of the deadly nerve agent, held by the rebels.
We may never know the objective truth of this. Weapons experts offer contradictory views on whether the Russian claim is feasible.
But there’s an old Latin saying – cui bono? Who benefits? It simply doesn’t make sense for Assad to have ordered a chemical gas attack. He has the upper hand in the civil war. Trump had not called for regime change. This attack would reverse all of that.
The Americans like to personalise their wars and build up foreign leaders to be great satins. But Bashar al Assad is not his father. He is not Saddam Hussein or Colonel Gaddafi. He’s a shy British educated eye doctor, who reluctantly became heir to power after his elder brother died in a car crash.
I do not believe Assad is in control of his regime. There are generals in the shadows pulling the strings. He is a figurehead.
So, western calls for him to be deposed are stupid and counter productive. If you replace one figurehead with another, what do you achieve… other than LOOKING like you’ve done something, when the same powerful generals remain in control?
Our objective should not be regime change. That’s for the Syrians to decide for themselves. Even Assad says as much…
“First of all, the Syrian people should choose their president and hold anyone accountable for any conflict and problems, not the United Nations. It doesn’t have any role.”
However, circumstances have led Trump to cross his own red line. This is an opportunity to accelerate diplomatic efforts to end the Syrian civil war. Military action buys America a greater say in the peace talks.
We have a humanitarian objective… to stop the slaughter and the exodus of refugees. We also have an objective to stop the advance of Islamic State; and in that, we share a common purpose with Iran, Russia AND the Assad regime.
It’s perfectly possible to achieve these goals without escalating western military intervention. The danger is the parties only respond to a big stick and not just tough talk.
I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.