Australian news, and some related international items

Confusion over Trump’s military strike on Syria

TRUMP’S CONFUSING STRIKE ON SYRIA, If President Trump broadens his aims against Assad, he will enter the very morass that Candidate Trump warned against.New Yorker, By   APRIL 17, 2017, “……. despite having previously seen similarly horrifying pictures, Trump had been skeptical of military action in Syria. In 2013, Assad’s forces attacked civilians and rebels near Damascus with sarin, a banned nerve agent, killing more than a thousand people. Trump advised President Obama, via Twitter, “Do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside.” (Obama had called Assad’s use of chemical arms crossing a “red line,” which might lead the U.S. to take military action, but he did not strike. Instead, Russia helped broker an agreement by which Assad gave up many—but evidently not all—of his chemical arms.)]

As recently as March 30th, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Assad’s future would be “decided by the Syrian people,” words that signalled a sharp departure from Obama’s insistence that Assad must leave office. Then, last Thursday, Tillerson seemed to shift direction, saying that “it would seem there would be no role” for Assad in Syria’s political future. But he later said, “I would not in any way attempt to extrapolate that to a change in our policy or our posture relative to our military activities in Syria today.”……..

If President Trump broadens his aims against Assad, to establish civilian safe havens, for example, or to ground Syria’s Air Force, or to bomb Assad to the negotiating table, he will enter the very morass that Candidate Trump warned against. He would have to manage risks—military confrontation with Russia, an intensified refugee crisis, a loss of momentum against isis—that Obama studied at great length and concluded to be unmanageable, at least at a cost consistent with American interests……..

once started, even limited wars upend initial plans and assumptions, violence produces unintended consequences, and conflicts are much easier to begin or escalate than to end.

Canadian, European, and Middle Eastern allies, as well as some sections of the Washington foreign-policy establishment, applauded Trump for his strike, pointing out its narrow scope, and noting that Assad had brought it on himself. Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s continual search for approval seems to contribute to his unpredictability. Perhaps he will soon rediscover his inclination to proceed cautiously in Middle Eastern wars. Given his bombast, his inconsistency, and his preference for gut instinct over policy knowledge, he always seemed likely to be a dangerous wartime President. The worry now is that he will also be an ambitious one.


April 10, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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