Thoughts on Syria
Since day one I have had mixed opinions about President Trump. Part of me hailed the death blow for the progressive narrative, and the notion that history is a linear and ever liberalizing process, the other half of me was more confused than angry. I wasn't sure if the uncouth and demagogic nationalist that I saw on the television was as daft as he was inarticulate, but if that was the case I worried.
Disclaimer aside, POTUS Trump fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Shayrat air base in western Syria April 7, 2017. This was on the assumption that the Assad regime had again used chemical weapons to attack Khan Sheikhoun north of Homs. Though the attacks origin is disputed, some saying the rebels again like the gassing in Ghouta ( a suburb of Damascus) had chemical weapons in deployed when mishandled or damaged by explosives;, the fact is we don't know. Either way these weapons, by the regime or the opposition were deployed, and the United States has made a shockingly antagonistic move in the eastern Mediterranean.
Cut Out the Perfidious and Immoral Allies
After this attack it seems as though the anti-Assad rhetoric is in full swing, again, I am not sure this is wise nor useful. Nations of the west have aligned themselves with horrible regimes now and in the past. Everyone knows the United States, has been in the past and strange bedfellows with the disturbing Saudi Regime, the Duvaliers in Haiti, or Hussien's Iraq.
Yet, when it comes to foreign dictators they seem free to condemn those whom do not ally themselves with the United States or receive support from the bugbear that is the Russian Federation; one of the only countries that does not toe the good globalist line.
My point is it seems awful conspicuous and disgusting to assault the regime in Syria the one bulwark against the disgusting Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State, simply because they are the flavour of the week in terms of being a head of state that is not appreciated by the sitting president.
Cut your support from the despicable Arab dictatorships, all of them, POTUS Trump and then we will talk about throwing missiles in the direction of whom ever you want.
Furthermore, this act of aggression by the United States hit a little closer to home than usual. My girlfriend who I love very very deeply is a Canadian raised in Syria/Lebanon, (she spent most her life moving between the two) much of her family including her father live in the area around Damascus, and despite the fact that I don't particularly like her father, knowing that her family is in danger, never mind caught in the middle of a potential super-power entanglement, makes me deeply uncomfortable.
Its more trying when she hasn't seen the news and you inform her in a casual phone call that the United States just fired missiles on the place you grew up. Once she knew it wasn't on a population centre there was some relief however.
I wouldn't say I was initially surprised although, I may have been slightly confused when I saw on twitter a number of Syrians in Syria and in Europe about their gratitude for the missile strike. I hesitate to call them naive, but I do think they underestimate the potential complications of such an incident. particularly the fact that opposition forces might find themselves emboldened by such a move.
Russia, is justifiably outraged at the President Trump's conduct. Its a shame that bilateral moves to form a peace agreement in Syria are likely to stall, but otherwise I am not sure I see how this could be horribly consequential for the United States. Russia simply does not have the international clout or the military to truly threaten the United States or stop it from acting unilaterally. I think they may have alienated a country that could have been a strong ally in the future, if a smart president had merely worked to reconcile the two nations and forgive the childish disputes between the EU and Russia instead recognizing its sphere of influence in the east, but now that option seems like a thing of the past. The United States should be no means expect to have free reign in the region however, as Russia leases the critical Tartus naval base in Syria. It is one of Russia's only warm water ports, and it sits beyond the Bosporus and Crimea, and is therefore critical. Russia will not abandon the region no matter what the future holds for the Assad regime.
Finally, I wonder if this is really in any way effective. Sure the Tomahawk strike was intimidating and shocking to western media. But it didn't cause significant damage to Syria's capacity to wage war. Instead, it seems like such a move will only push Assad to continue his killing with conventional weaponry, which if you are a civilian is inconsequential shrapnel or gas you are just as dead. The Shayrat Airbase is already running again, surprise, and Donald Trump is being questioned by his base while recieveing support from the hawk lobby in the Congress. It is a strange time. Finally, and President Trump should know this, unless he has miraculously detailed intellegence which tells him something no one else knows, is that if Syria falls, the United States tries to change the regime or cripples it, or anything else truly debilitating happens to the Assad regime then the extremists likely the Islamic State will take over. Is that the future we want even for those of us who do not live in Syria?