Is The United States On The Brink Of War?
Last week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad allegedly waged a chemical attack on his people in Douma, Syria. Dozens of people were killed and many more suffered horrific injuries. Earlier today, President Trump tweeted, “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!” in response to Russia warning the United States not to strike Syria, their ally.
This would not be the first time Assad has been accused of using chemical weapons on his people. In 2013, Assad was accused of using chemical weapons on his people in Damascus, Syria. President Obama then drew his “red line” where he said he would get chemical weapons out of Syria. Instead of taking action he gave the reins over to the Russians in hopes they would get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons. Instead, the Russians made an alliance with Syria and did not get rid of their chemical weapons. National security advisor Susan Rice told the American there were no more chemical weapons in Syria. President Obama also told the American people this and that he did it through “Diplomacy.”
President Trump told the American people “nothing is off the table” when referring to possible action in Syria.
Does This Mean We Could Be At War With Syria?
It seems unlikely President Trump would wage full out war with Syria due to the unpopularity a war would be. We have no interest in Syria other than eradicating ISIS. It seems likely President Trump will launch some missile attacks against Syrian air bases regardless of Russian push back. Also, it seems likely President Trump will send aid to countries like Israel who are currently launching strikes on Syrian military bases.
President Trump ran on a largely non-interventionist platform in regards to foreign policy, so it would be a dramatic shift from the campaign rhetoric if he were to actually start an all-out war. It is still rather unclear whether or not the chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime. When something is outside the realm of certainty and into the realm of probability, one must begin to question motives in order to grasp the full picture. It seems apparent that Assad is currently winning the war by a sizable margin, leaving very little incentive for him to order something that could potentially cost him a war that he was already winning. Regardless of his moral fortitude, Assad is a rational agent that understands that if the United States were to become aware that he used chemical weapons, they are far more likely to intervene, thus crippling his chances of victory for no tangible benefit. On the other hand, the rebels have every incentive to convince the United States that Assad was responsible, as they are losing the war.
While President Trump said “nothing is off the table” it seems like he will avoid war with Syria because his popularity would plummet and it would hurt Republican popularity in the midterm elections this fall by a not inconsequential amount.
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