Image from The Telegraph
Donald Trump was steadfast in his opposition to military action in Syria:
Why did the recent chemical attack change Donald Trump’s mind about military action in Syria? After all, Trump sent these tweets after Assad launched a chemical attack.
Let’s look back in time.
Barack Obama said in August 2012, “a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. … There would be enormous consequences.”
Remember, it was clear in August of 2013 that Bashar Al-Assad carried out a chemical attack. The White House posted a public statement affirming the attack. The statement reads in part, “[a] preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in the chemical weapons attack, including at least 426 children….” What makes this attack any different? The latest fatality count for this attack is between 85 to 100 people total, including 20 children. More people were killed in the attack that violated Obama’s red line, yet Trump advised against military action. What changed?
Was this military action partially an attempt to divert attention away from the Russian collusion investigations?
What is the administration’s goal?
How will Vladimir Putin respond? It looks like our relationship with Russia may be rapidly deteriorating. According to new reporting by The Guardian:
The Russian military says it will help Syria strengthen its air defences after the US strike on a Syrian air base, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
Russian defence ministry spokesman Maj Gen Igor Konashenkov said that a “complex of measures” to strengthen Syrian air defences will be done shortly to help “protect the most sensitive Syrian infrastructure facilities.”
Konashenkov said “the combat efficiency of the U.S. strike was very low,” adding that only 23 of the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles reached the Shayrat air base in the province of Homs.
He said it destroyed six MiG-23 fighter jets of the Syrian air force which were under repairs, but didn’t damage other Syrian warplanes at the base.
Konashenkov added that the base’s runway also has been left undamaged.
There are more unanswered questions: What will the administration do to cool relations with Russia? Did Trump get Congressional approval to launch this attack? What will be Assad’s next move? How will China respond?
Caveat: This launch could be a better strategy than Obama’s drone strikes if Trump is able to: 1. Limit military operations to this strike 2. Score no causalities 3. Reach a diplomatic solution to the Syrian Crisis with no other military action.