Trump practically crying tears in public over the horrible deaths from sarin in Syria didn’t quite ring true to me. His speech on Wednesday looked a bit to my old eyes like a Performance:
While much of what he said is understandable coming from a President of the US, somehow the references to God and the emotionalism sounded a false note. Since when has Donald Trump cared two pins about Syrians? Particularly the muslim variety? After all, they have borne the scourge of Assad’s chemicals before. Without a doubt the short speech was dramatic, and Donald Trump loves drama. He is also in need of a popularity boost, and the Tomahawk raid may just do that besides wiping the Russian influence investigations and White House internecine staff battles off the front pages, or at least below the fold, distracting Americans from these scandals and other failures.
The war in Syria has displaced 14 million Syrians and half a million have been killed since Assad unleashed a brutal war on his own population six years ago. Does the Trump administration have a larger plan to protect Syrian civilians going forward?Already the Trump administration — despite legal challenges — has attempted to ban Syrian refugees who are largely women and children from entering the United States. These Syrian refugees are not terrorists. They are fleeing the brutal terrorism of the Assad regime and the brutal terrorism of ISIS. They are the victims of terrorism, not its perpetrators.On the campaign trail, candidate Trump occasionally raised the idea of creating “safe zones” for Syrian civilians.Is the next step for the Trump administration the creation of such zones? After all, one set of cruise missile strikes will hardly protect the millions of Syrian civilians who are currently at the mercy of the Assad regime.
One thought that came to me was where has Trump been these last 6 years? Other than criticizing the Obama administration for its “weakness” and supposed “failures” to act on Red Lines drawn, I don’t think he’s said much about the plight of ordinary Syrians. The entire effort has seemed to be anti Muslim which includes most Syrian refugees (the travel bans). Yes, he said he would “bomb the sh**t out of ISIS”, but there had been no report of ISIS at the Shayrat airfield. What will he do if his friend Putin decides to retaliate? Those ships in the Mediterranean could well be at risk. The Russians also have armed ships there. They may be willing to use other tools as well. (see Richard Wollfe in the Guardian).
It could well be that Trump has gotten himself into another, deeper self-made mess as he tries to distract us from all the earlier ones.