The United States is once again on the brink of another prolonged war in the Middle East. On Thursday night, President Donald Trump ordered Tomahawk missile strikes on a Syrian government air base as retaliation for an alleged Sarin gas attack on civilians at Khan Shaykhun.
In adopting the regime change policies of predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Mr. Trump has now become the latest in a line of war presidents. It is a rite of passage for any U.S. leader and one that firmly establishes that the real business of America is war.
— Reuters U.S. News (@ReutersUS) April 7, 2017
As reported by Reuters “U.S. fires missiles at Assad airbase, escalating tensions with Russia”
The United States on Friday fired dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase from which it said a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched this week, an escalation of the U.S. military role in Syria that immediately raised tension with Russia.
Just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he had ordered the attack, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strike had seriously damaged ties between Washington and Moscow.
Two U.S. warships fired 59 cruise missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea at the Syrian airbase controlled by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in response to a poison gas attack in a rebel-held area on Tuesday, U.S. officials said.
Putin, a staunch ally of Assad, regarded the U.S. action as “aggression against a sovereign nation” on a “made-up pretext” and a cynical attempt to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was cited as saying by agencies.
It was the toughest direct U.S. action yet in Syria’s six-year-old civil war and leaves Trump facing his biggest foreign policy crisis since his Jan. 20 inauguration, raising the risk of confrontation with Russia and Iran, Assad’s two main military backers.
The strikes along with the administration’s policy shift to ousting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is a stark departure from Trump’s campaign rhetoric and will most certainly lead to a commitment of a considerable resources in the region – if not boots on the ground.
With Trump embattled on all fronts by a vicious domestic opposition and with John McCain and Lindsey Graham clamoring for war, the POTUS acted rapidly and didn’t seek congressional authorization for what could rapidly expand into a costly war. Not to mention that the sudden about face on toppling Assad will surely embolden ISIS which was on the ropes and on the run.
The missile strikes also dealt another blow to the prospect of peace with nuclear powerhouse Russia as powerful forces will continue to push Trump in that direction even if it triggers World War III.
Interestingly, the resurgent Hillary Clinton suggested such strikes only hours earlier. Is Trump now adopting her foreign policy?
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 7, 2017
The possibility for an escalation would seem to put Trump’s domestic agenda in jeopardy and could force a shift away from the America first policies that Trump had used as a driving force to win the election.
Trump’s move toward a more aggressive Syrian policy won’t likely deter his political foes who are hellbent on his removal from office and will be demanding that Trump prove that he isn’t loyal to Putin by launching more attacks. The president will live to rue the day that he threw Michael Flynn to the wolves instead of going to war with his domestic opposition.
Sadly, the Trump revolution may already be on the way to its deathbed as many of his supporters did not sign up for more of the same foreign wars that continue to put domestic problems on the back burner. It was already going to be tough sledding to get the money for that border wall that now appears to be in serious jeopardy as foreign interests beckon.
Will MAGA end up being just another slogan like hope and change? One can hope that isn’t the case but Thursday’s stunning turnabout doesn’t bode well for the future.