Everybody’s known from the very beginning that President Trump is a decisive guy. The moment he settled into the White House, he began to carry out his most scandalous campaign promises. But no one expected him to attack Syria, since the new American leader wasn’t ashamed of his status as a neophyte in foreign policy and only intended to “look into the matter.”
So much for looking into it.
It’s now become clear that dealing with this new cowboy will be still more difficult than dealing with the dimwitted yet also very decisive George W. Bush. Any of the most radical hawks would envy such a “debut” on the world stage. It’s now obvious that while presidents in Washington change, the essence of American foreign (and domestic) policy remains the same, since it’s by no means defined by the “leaders” but by the notorious intelligence community.
Trump was expected, of course, to thoroughly shake up or remake the intelligence community. But, by the look of things, he’s the one who’s been remade. And now the tail from Langley and the Pentagon will wag the billionaire dog with the ridiculous hairdo. On Capitol Hill, it’s basically the usual story. But that doesn’t make it any less galling.
At the same time, it’s impossible to act like our allies in Syria have been perfectly behaved and haven’t given the hawks cause for aggressive action. Of all the versions of what happened in Idlib, the one that asserts that the Syrian military struck a warehouse where the insurgents had stored chemical weapons seems the most reasonable. Syrian intelligence should have warned that the weapons were there and that hitting them was out of the question. But the intelligence service had no such information. It’s hard to believe the version about an American provocation since the U.S. has already been caught in a lie on the matter, and the new secretary of state hardly wants the same reputation as his scandalous predecessors.
What happened was a fatal mistake by Syrian intelligence, because any mention of chemical weapons gives the “international community” carte blanche to grind Assad into dust. Since Iraq, there’s been no better reason for a military operation. Just ask Colin Powell.
For the U.S. and NATO, Assad has turned out to be “worse than Hitler” and on the same level as Saddam. After all, for some strange reason the Nazi Fuhrer didn’t use chemical weapons, whereas Hussein (according to the American version of events) did so regularly. It’s unlikely, of course, that the Yankees will meddle in Syria as they once did in Iraq; times have changed, and besides, according to Trump, America has already ceased to be great. But you can forget about a joint fight against terrorism now.
Washington and its allies are intent upon playing their game, and that game is little different from the actions of the Obama administration. It’s become even more aggressive; the latter at least didn’t fling missiles at the drop of a hat. The new leader has shown a willingness to look into things and punish anyone, no matter who.
In sum, there’s no end in sight to the Syrian conflict. And both the spry Trump with his missiles and Syrian intelligence with its unprofessional activity are ready to devote energy to making it worse. One can only hope that all this doesn’t grow into something bigger. It was with Clinton that everyone was expecting World War III.
The people of the world had different hopes altogether for Trump.