The Syrian Aftermath: Now What

By Heberto Limas-Villers

Just less than 24 hours ago, the US launched a missile strike against a Syrian air base. The reactions have been more or less mixed with the left criticizing him partly for his ban on Syrian refugees and the far-right turning against President Trump for hurting relations with Putin, whom they adore probably more than our own president. The ethics behind this attack is unquestionable: Bashar Al-Assad used the air base to commit acts of terror against his own people with chemical weapons. There is precedent behind this attack given that President Obama did draw a red line on chemical weapons in 2013 but failed to act on his promise. Yet with this attack, the world wonders as to what will President Trump do next.

The problem with this attack is not that President Trump acted but how does it play to his strategy in the region? Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated to the press, “I would not in any way attempt to extrapolate that to a change in our policy or posture relative to our military activities in Syria today. There has been no change in that status.” It also doesn’t help that President Trump has flip-flopped on this issue extensively at one point accepting Assad’s legitimacy as head of state. He has delivered so many mixed signals to the world we do not know what is his strategy in Syria. I hope that President Trump has a strategy he is executing because if he doesn’t, this attack will be for nothing.

Good luck and God Speed, Mr. President.

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