Posted: 04/07/17 13:06
by Dave Mindeman
There is one more thing about Syria that needs to be said.
The Obama administration was, and continues to be, criticized for not acting in 2013 during Assad's last chemical strike. The problem with that criticism is that too many Republicans think of military action as a response with no consequence. Obama and his advisers met constantly to go over the many scenarios that are involved in this complicated region. They would discuss what each country would do in the case of a strike and weighed the matter very carefully.
When the opportunity to get rid of Assad's chemical weapons via a Russian initiative presented itself, Obama took that option over the complications of a military intervention. He was not wrong - even though the Russians and Syrians lied about the end product.
Trump has acted quickly. Maybe too quickly. Because now we have to watch the reactions from these nations with very little background thought on what that can mean.
We already have one consequence as Russia pulls out of the air strike notification agreement. This has dangerous implications of Russia-US confrontations in the air. And it also reduces leverage we might have when, and if, political talks begin on a resolution in Syria.
I still think this strike was probably an appropriate response to the Syrian gas attack. Something did have to happen.
But what I do not have confidence in, is that Trump weighed the consequences carefully before acting. This is not a business deal where everything is nicely laid out in a written contract. This has far reaching implications that can manifest themselves in unforeseen ways.
And the world is still a very dangerous place.