Speculation and controversy have surrounded President Donald J. Trump’s first few months in office. A failed Obamacare repeal, potentially dangerous banter with North Korea, and a short lived and illiberal ban on immigration from certain countries. Trump supporters such as myself have so far been quite disappointed with the new leader of the free world’s performance.
About 3 weeks ago, Trump launched missiles on a Syrian Government Airbase, for allegedly committing a gas attack on civilians. Yesterday France claimed they had solid proof that it was indeed Assad who committed the atrocity. The Foreign Office of France has conducted tests, and the gas matches the Sarin attack of 2013.
Russia, who effectively use Syria as a puppet state, has countered this by stating that this is not enough to prove who did it.
All of the fingers so far have pointed at Assad, he’s done it before, so what would stop him from doing it again? Nigel Farage however, leader of the UK Independence Party, rightly pointed out how illogical the attack would have been, if indeed it was Assad behind it. The fact is: the Syrian government is winning the civil war with conventional weapons. They outnumber, outgun, are out-funded, and better trained than their rebel opponents. So given Syria’s success in fighting rebels, and huge international pressure, why on earth would Assad bomb his own people?
Time will only tell whether it was really Assad. Three days after the attack, word of Trumps military reaction reached everybody. Neoconservatives rejoiced, paleoconservatives raged, and Twitter thought it was World War Three.
Trump campaigned against military intervention against Assad, with good reason to as well. The result of US led regime change has made the world a more unstable place, the results can be seen in Iraq and Libya. The power vacuum that the US leaves is routinely filled up by Islamic extremists. ISIS could essentially be traced back to a post-war, crippled, impoverished Iraq. Invading countries under the banner of freedom, democracy and equality has never been received well by tribal, medieval Islamists.
In his campaign, Trump gave hope to countless men and women who were fed up of military action that was making the world a more dangerous place.
Xi Jinping, president/chairman/supreme-commander/dictator of China, visited the USA when the airstrikes occurred. Perhaps the attack was a warning to China and their South China Sea expansionism, or perhaps to their defence of North Korea?
Who knows? But Assad is the most effective tool that the west has in destroying ISIS. Wouldn’t it be great, if the US, Turkey, Assad and Russia could join hands and beat terrorists such as ISIS, not overthrow an unpopular dictator. Iraq and Libya should serve as reminders of the destruction, chaos and anarchy that regime control incorporates, not as role models for the democratic expansionism. Trump has two sound options: either leave the Syrian government alone, or befriend them. Although the latter seems unlikely now.
Was it right or wrong? In my eyes, it depends on the motive. If it is a sign of another neoconservative foreign policy, then it’s wrong, but if it is a warning to China, then I can cope.