Sunday, April 15, 2018

But Syri-ously . . .

Donald Trump is being applauded for working with the British and the French on a trilateral approach to handling the humanitarian crisis in Syria by lobbing a few missiles in Bashar al-Assad's chemical-weapons facilities after a chemical attack by the Syrian government against its own people.  Let's break down that premature acclaim:
Trump's manly posturing against Syria's benefactor, Russian President Vladimir Putin, doesn't back up the attack.  The Western allies attacked three specific targets in the country but avoided Syrian air bases, lest the U.S., Great Britain and France provoke Russian forces - and there were certainly no attacks on Russian installations despite Trump's earlier tweet.  This attack does nothing to deter Assad; an attack on a chemical-research facility lauded as having set back research work on lethal gases.  I don't think the Syrians need to do any more research on the subject; they've finished their homework.
Assad is still winning the civil war.  The rebels have been forced to surrender all over the country, and now it's only a matter of time before he puts down the rebellion completely.  There's no justification for Assad's use of chemical weapons on his own people, but this strike against him isn't going to deter him.
If we are really concerned with the welfare of the Syrian people, we should let in more Syrian refugees and take the burden off Europe. But Trump isn't willing to do that.   
Trump has suggested that this attack could lead to negotiations to end the Syrian civil war.  The President has taken the lead in establishing possible negotiations - President Macron of France, that is, who is quickly turning out to be the de facto leader of the Western alliance.   American involvement is already nil, what with the Russians, the Iranians, and the Turks having held high-level summits on Syria at which the Americans were not invited.  But then, Trump was against continued military involvement in the Islamic State-dominated areas of Syria - and thus against against continued military involvement in Syria period - as recently as a week earlier before he was for it.
Abstaining from an attack Russian forces at least prevents a third world war, but it also shows how much Trump wants to pretend to get tough on Putin when Putin likely has him under his thumb.
"What?  James Comey just put out his memoirs?  I didn't hear about that!"  Exactly - because of Syria.
Hillbots will likely sneer at me for going third party on the Democrats in 2016 in part because Hillary Clinton was thinking of establishing a no-fly zone over Syria could provoke the Russians.  I can hear Hillary supporters now - "Green Party voters said that if I voted for Hillary, we'd have a war in Syria - well, I voted for Hillary, now we have a war in Syria!"  Ha ha ha. But I'm not laughing.  And yes, I still think Martin O'Malley (you knew I was going to mention his name) was right; we shouldn't do anything in Syria that could provoke a wider conflict simply to get rid of Assad, and Putin's involvement in Syria will be a blunder for the Russian leader.  Getting involved in that bed of thorns for a base or two on the Mediterranean will only come back to bite the Russians in the rear just like our involvement in Iraq bit us.  
And any effort to prevent Iranian access to the Mediterranean through Syria can be checked with that nuclear agreement with Iran - you know, the one Trump and Mike Pompeo want to ditch?
My commentary is done here. 

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