The U.S. strikes against a military base in Syria for the first time.
News: Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles launched by American military forces against a base in Syria destroyed an airbase and surrounding hangars filled with military equipment, both under the control of Bashar Assad.
Why Has Trump Hit Assad and the Russians? Wasn’t He Supposed to Be Their Friend?
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly said that Obama supported rebels in Syria whom the Americans knew nothing about, while the Russians were doing the right thing: targeting the Islamic State. Less than a week before the current president’s attack against Syria, sources from his administration declared that the Syrian people were the ones who had to choose their leadership. The chemical attack changed everything: “It crosses many lines. Killing innocent children, small children… It crosses many many lines,” Trump said. All of a sudden, Trump has made a U-turn and begun talking about a coalition against the Assad regime.
What Was the Chemical Attack?
The incident feels like 2103 déjà vu when a chemical attack launched against civilians almost caused NATO to intervene. At the time, there was not enough evidence that the attack was executed by the government and the plan was cancelled.
Is the Death of So Many the Real Reason Behind Trump’s Sharp Change of Mind?
The new president is making compromise after compromise with the foreign policy views he shared throughout his campaign. His promising relationship with Russia cooled off prematurely, while his meeting with NATO member states went better than expected and he actually got some commitment from them to spend more on defense. The chemical attack in Syria may just be a good excuse for Trump not to make radical changes to established United States foreign policy.
Is Someone Manipulating Trump?
It is well known that the United States has serious financial interests in the military industry, which remain a priority regardless of who is in power – Democrats or Republicans. A radical shift in foreign policy will require a complete change of the political and economic establishment, which Trump has never had the resources or support to execute. It’s not manipulation but more likely a reality check that has taught the new White House occupant that not everything in the U.S. depends on the president. There are long-term interests that can be changed only with wide support across the board.
Is There Going to Be a War?
Against Syria, maybe. Against Russia, no. Russian geopolitics follow the so-called chess model, while Americans follow the poker model. The possibility of a large military campaign against Assad may be an American bluff, which will gain them more influence in the final stage of the conflict without putting forth the huge investment the Russians did. A direct U.S.-Russia confrontation is not desired and neither of the two countries is prepared for it. Despite the bold statements, it is more than likely that a big intervention is not going to happen.