Last Thursday, President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on a Syrian air base in what initially appeared to be a betrayal to his campaign promises of no intervention, no World War III, and no more regime change in the Middle East.
After all, President Trump routinely referenced the deceased dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, asserting that had the U.S. not deposed him in favor of regime change, the power vacuum that lead to the creation of ISIS and contributed to the Syrian civil war would have never formed.
In the moments immediately following the strike, the feeling of betrayal was palpable, as President Trump appeared to be doing exactly what Hillary Clinton would have done in his shoes: risk a third World War with Russia to topple President Assad.
However, as more information came to light, clearer picture of this strike was formed:
- 1. The strike was launched as Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss trade and North Korea
This meeting – and the strike on the Syrian air base – came at a time when the North Korean government is at its most belligerent in recent history, apparently closing in on the creation of nuclear weapons, and threatening to lob them at anyone within striking distance.
The North Korean government is supported entirely by the Chinese government. The only reason the oppressive regime has not collapsed under its own absurdity is because of this support, and thanks to President Trump sending a firm message through Syria about the United States’ willingness to respond to international provocations, China is now allowing the United States to take a more active role in the Korean peninsula, where we have been in a fragile ceasefire with the North Koreans for over 60 years.
While the American media is still struggling with whether or not to inform the people of this information, the state-run Chinese media has already published the story.
- 2. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster both insist there is no push for regime change.
While the Trump Administration has been accused of presenting an unclear message about the fate of President Assad, both Tillerson and McMaster appeared on Sunday morning news programs to confirm that the United States is not pushing for regime change, and suggesting there will be no further action taken.
According to McMaster, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s emotional statement was meant to be firm but tough, leaving the door open to regime change should President Assad be guilty of using chemical weapons again (more on this later).
The Russian government issued strongly worded statements indicating they were firmly against the strike and believed the United States was acting aggressively and illegally, however, they did not cancel their meeting with Tillerson. In the immediate aftermath of the strike, this is what many focused on with laser like precision.
If Russia had canceled this diplomatic meeting with the Trump Administration, this could spell the beginning of a conflict with Russia. The meeting will continue as planned, though Tillerson now has an even more difficult job to complete.
The reason you don’t generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2017
Admittedly, this is all the analysis of an independent journalist playing amateur military thinker. If one is preparing to launch a large-scale ground invasion of another country, one would naturally take out all defensive air capabilities. Instead, President Trump’s strikes damaged more aircraft and buildings than runways.
The Syrian air force returned to using the runways almost immediately after the base was struck, indicating the strikes were designed to destroy the housing of the alleged chemical weapons, not the Syrian government’s ability to strike ISIS and the rebels.
Only two days after the strike against the Syrian air base, reports surfaced that United States special forces won a decisive victory over ISIS in Syria. This is completely contrary to reports that indicate the United States have gone back to its Obama-Clinton policy of funding and protecting ISIS in order to destabilize and eventually topple President Assad’s government.
Why You Should Still Be Concerned
What happens if President Assad uses chemical weapons again? Worse, what happens if the Syrian rebels or ISIS use chemical weapons and frame President Assad? Will President Trump authorize a 150,000 person ground invasion to topple the Syrian government and install someone more trustworthy? We can only hope not.
Roger Stone, veteran political operative, former political adviser to the Trump campaign, and associate of President Trump since 1979 maintains that the Trump Administration is not interested in a large scale war with Syria. This can be seen as a good omen.