I am not against the use of Tomahawk missiles against Syria.
I am not for it, either.
This issue is so terribly complicated that I’m pretty sure I’ll never fully understand all the variables at play. The use of that awesome and effective United States Military power changed the course of Trump’s presidency. For me, that calls for a little Monday Morning Quarterbacking and analysis of what might be going on.
First, let’s examine some facts.
- Assad used chemical weapons.
- President Obama told Assad not to do that.
- President Obama failed to enforce the ‘red line’ in Syria.
- Donald Trump vehemently protested any action in Syria in 2013 and while campaigning.
- Syria is under Russian hegemony.
Now, let’s amass some opinions. Opinions aren’t bad, they just must be viewed differently than facts.
- Most everyone in the world agrees that using chemical weapons is a crime against humanity.
- Some people think POTUS should have come to congress before taking action.
- Other people think POTUS had authorization for this under previous resolutions in congress.
- Militarily, Syria poses no threat to us, however Russia’s presence makes things sloppy.
- The United States is one of the few nations on earth with both the ability and the moral authority to act.
- Many of the ‘hot spots’ in the world, particularly ISIS, are so hot because Barack Obama was not aggressive on the international front and projected weakness. This is evidenced from Ukraine to Iran to Nigeria.
Having some facts in hand, and some opinions, now let’s think about the politics.
- A lot of Trump voters were for him because he advocated a policy that indicated he would not entangle himself in international messes. Repeatedly he said things would be better if we just left things alone.
- POTUS and Putin have an interesting relationship, one that has been under a great deal of scrutiny.
- Trump has criticized the United States’ intelligence gathering communities.
- Last week North Korea launched a missile.
- China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, was in Trump’s hotel in Mar-a-Lago when the missiles were launched against Syria.
- There is some kind of power struggle going on in the White House between the globalist son-in-law Jared Kushner and the nationalist Steve Bannon. It appears in this issue, POTUS went to Jared.
Perhaps now we can do some analysis.
- It is possible that POTUS changed his opinion based upon intelligence information, policy arguments, and the weight of the office of President. Perhaps he had a legitimate change of mind because of the evidence presented to him from the intelligence communities. This would be encouraging.
- It is also possible that POTUS recognizes he is in trouble over Russia and the internecine struggles within his staff that have resulted in an administration that is undisciplined, disconnected, and unsure of itself. To fix this image problem and divert attention, he did what others (remember Reagan invading Grenada, or Clinton bombing aspirin factories?) have done, and that is trump up (no pun intended) a national security issue. This particularly gives him cover on the Russia issue. A person friendly or beholden to Putin would not have done this. This line of thought is very discouraging.
- Maybe, just maybe, the real target of the Tomahawks was not Syria, but North Korea. I think the America people possibly feel this in their gut, because we recognize what a fighter does. A fighter punches someone in the face to get everyone’s attention in order to send the message that if they don’t fall in line, they are next. Last week POTUS said, “If China doesn’t fix North Korea, we will,” and then, as if to add some muscle to that, he bombs Syria while the leader of China is eating dinner at the Florida White House. This line of thought is chilling, but clever. Clever in its churchillian approach, but chilling in that it signals a heightened military presence around the world.
Now, for some Greenbean opinions.
- The Middle-East is not a puzzle to be solved. Something should be done about Assad, but it will not really solve anything. We are still trying to figure out how to put things back together after they broke it all following World War I. What is broken in that part of the world is the culture, and politics can’t really fix culture.
- If there were no oil there, no one would care. Look at Africa. No one is worried about the refugees coming over to Uganda from Sudan because of the violence. There is no oil there. No one cares. This seems to rob much of these issues of their moral clamor.
- Tomahawk missiles do nothing in the struggle in Syria. If we really wanted to make a difference in Syria, we must land ground troops, overthrow Assad, and build a national coalition. Of course, that is what we did in Iraq, and we see how that works. Again, there are no good solutions.
- If this continues, it is only a matter of time before we are in a proxy war with Russia in Syria (or Iran) as well as a proxy war with China in Korea. Again.