Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad shocked the world by using chemical weapons against his own people.
When he did this in 2013, Obama claimed he “crossed a red line,” but refused to act. Experts believed this emboldened the Syrian strong man.
He pushed his luck by launching another chemical weapons attack, but Donald Trump had other ideas.
A chemical weapons attack in Syria killed over 100 people, including 25 children.
The images shocked the world and clearly moved President Trump.
He responded by launching cruise missiles to destroy the airfield where the attack was staged.
The Washington Post reports:
“The U.S. military launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield late on Thursday, in the first direct American assault on the government of President Bashar al-Assad since that country’s civil war began six years ago.
The operation, which the Trump administration authorized in retaliation for a chemical attack killing scores of civilians this week, dramatically expands U.S. military involvement in Syria and exposes the United States to heightened risk of direct confrontation with Russia and Iran, both backing Assad in his attempt to crush his opposition.”
Trump declared that stopping future chemical weapons attacks was in the United States’ vital national interest.
The Washington Post also reports:
But President Trump said the strike was in the “vital national security interest” of the United States and called on “all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria. And also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.”
“We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world,” he continued. “We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed and we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will in the end prevail.”
During the campaign, Trump’s reluctance to involve the United States in wars of nation building was a crucial factor in his ability to assemble a winning coalition.
Was he going back on his word?
Was the bombing of the Syrian airfield a first step toward a war of regime change and nation building?
The White House made sure to say that is not the case.
All WH comments immediately following the attack suggest it was to send a message of
NOT regime change. https://t.co/NqlRWukj1l
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) April 7, 2017
A war for regime change would have dire consequences.
Deposing dictators in Libya and Iraq fueled the rise of ISIS.
And in the Syrian conflict, Assad is fighting rebels aligned with ISIS and Al Qaeda.
He has largely defeated the rebels trying to oust him, and has made strides towards defeating ISIS.
The Trump administration was wise to put out the word the United States was not engaging in military activity for regime change.