The Transom, Ben Domenech, April 7, 2017
The anti-Trump resistance is pleasantly surprised by the Commander in Chief’s willingness to fling missiles in the direction of the Assad regime. See here. “The U.S. military launched nearly 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles against a Syrian air base Friday, responding to mounting calls for a display of force in the wake of this week’s suspected chemical-weapons attack in Syria. The strikes represented the first time a U.S. military operation deliberately targeted the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said the chemical attack in Idlib province on Tuesday had changed his thinking on Syria and Mr. Assad.
“Speaking inside his Mar-a-Lago resort, President Trump said he ordered targeted missile strikes at a Syrian airfield as a response to the “barbaric” chemical weapons attack. The Assad regime, Mr. Trump said, “choked out the lives of helpless” people in Syria. “It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” Mr. Trump said. “There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons.” …
“The U.S. strikes targeted the Shayrat Airfield near Homs, Syria, and were meant to cripple the base’s aircraft, aircraft shelters, ammunition bunkers and air defense and radar systems, officials said. The strikes began about 4:40 a.m. Friday in Syria and only lasted approximately five minutes. A Syrian official said the strikes killed five people, including three members of the military, and caused significant damage. The base was directly tied to the April 4 attack at a civilian hospital, according to the U.S. military.”
The problem, of course, is that such strikes will not achieve all that much in the scheme of things, and certainly will not be enough to force Assad or his Russian backers to the negotiation table. The immediate ramifications include a stop to US-Russian cooperation. See here. “Russia on Friday suspended a U.S.-Russian agreement on coordinating air operations over Syria in response to a U.S. strike on a Syrian airfield. “The Russian President considers the American strikes on Syria aggression against a sovereign government in violation of the norms of international rights and under a contrived pretext,” the Kremlin said.
“Russia’s foreign ministry called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council and said Moscow was suspending a 2015 agreement meant to prevent accidents above Syria which could threaten inadvertent close calls between Russian planes that support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and U.S. aircraft.”
Mollie Hemingway: The Case for Strikes In Syria Is Better Than The Case For War. See here. “Observers have noticed that President Donald Trump’s decision to attack Syria is at odds with his rhetoric over the last four years. Not only has he pushed a foreign policy that emphasizes American interests instead of humanitarian concerns, he’s specifically identified Syria as a place the United States should avoid invading…
“Interventionists such as Sen. John McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and political commentator Bill Kristol were pleased with the strikes in Syria. For Trump supporters who had supported his rhetoric of restraint toward the region, it was a disappointment. These people believed President Trump would steer a course different than the one adopted by the foreign policy establishment in both the Republican and Democratic parties.
“However, there is a national interest case for striking Syria this week that is easier to make than the case for full-fledged war with Syria, which requires much more discussion and for which congressional approval should be sought. Some would argue that congressional approval should have been sought even for the limited strikes…
“Assad’s government signed the global treaty that bans chemical weapons four years ago. He agreed to dispose of his chemical weapons, and the Obama administration claimed that Syria voluntarily did so completely just last year. President Barack Obama had talked about intervening in the Syrian civil war in 2013, but abandoned that plan after Syria signed the chemical weapons ban.
“Assad’s use of sarin gas is a clear violation of that treaty, and the norm against chemical warfare is in the American interest to uphold. The best way to stop future use of chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is to ensure that the American response is severe. The response should cause significantly more damage than any temporary advantage gained by their use. Americans live throughout the world and the country wants to make sure that no Americans or American interests are caught up in the use of weapons of mass destruction.”