War is the Unfolding of Miscalculations… Assad, Trump, Putin, and Syria 2017

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

The die has been cast. Last week the Trump administration signaled that the regime of Bashir Al Assad was not a priority for American policy in the Middle East. The comment was perplexing as the Assad regime has worked with the Iranians, and Hezbollah, both enemies of the United States to crush a revolt against his regime that began during the Arab Spring. Assad’s methods included the use of Sarin nerve agent and relentless attacks on civilians and were condemned by much of the world. In 2013 President Obama attempted to gain political support for military action against the Assad regime but was rebuffed by congressional Republicans as well as anti-war Democrats. The Syrian rebels were joined by radical Sunni Muslims of various Al Qaeda affiliates and later joined by the so called Islamic State. The Syrian army was on the point of collapse when the Russians intervened in 2015.

From 2013 on President Trump constantly said that military action in Syria was against U.S. national interests, something that continued until last week. Then Assad, apparently emboldened by the Trump Administration’s statement that changing his regime was not a priority for the U.S. launched a aerial attack using chemical weapons against civilians. The images which were shown throughout the 24 hour cable news cycle evidently made an impression on the President. Within hours of suggesting that military action was possible it began.

From Mar-a-Largo where the President is hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping, the President said:

“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air base in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched… It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

I agree that it is the vital interests of the United States to prevent and deter the use of chemical weapons, but why this and why now especially since it did not seem to be a priority less than a week ago?

Right now we know precious little about the action, except that it was sudden and done without any congressional consultation, and little consultation with allies. Will Congress do its duty and demand details before allowing the administration to commit us to another war that in no way is covered by the 2001 authorization for use of force that has been used for all the actions involving the war on terrorism conducted by the Bush and the Obama Administrations, or will Congress roll over and do nothing, thus allowing the executive branch to take the nation to war with no oversight?

The genie of war is now out of the bottle. We do not know what will happen next, the potential branches and sequels to this action are many, and few of them promise anything in the way of peace in Syria. There is now danger that the U.S. will become entangled in a complex war that has no good outcome.

The question, what will happen next is unknown. Can President Trump work with Russia’s President Putin, Turkey’s President Erdrogan, as well as well as other regional leaders to bring something resembling peace to the region? I hope that can happen but I wouldn’t bet on it as history shows that all too often that these things take on a life of their own.  As Barbara Tuchman noted: “War is the unfolding of miscalculations.”

I have a couple of articles that I will post soon about the dangerous nature of what we are witnessing. But for tonight I will pause and try to get some sleep.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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5 Comments

Filed under Foreign Policy, middle east, Military, national security, News and current events, Political Commentary, US Navy

5 responses to “War is the Unfolding of Miscalculations… Assad, Trump, Putin, and Syria 2017

  1. Reblogged this on We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident and commented:
    In his Executive Order, this is the country where Trump does not want refugees to enter the U.S. Now suddenly he cares about the people?

  2. Doug Lundy

    I fully understand the Trump sentiments a week ago about the Assad regime and the need this week for military action. The regime change policies promoted by the Obama administration resulted in unforeseen problems in the Ukraine, Libya and Egypt. Obviously, the Obama administration failed in their attempt to remove chemical weapons from Syria. They were “played” by both Russia and Syria. Assad’s decision this week to use chemical weapons is a game changer and he is solely responsible for his actions. Trump understood he had a morally obligation to respond with force. A one off use of cruise missiles does not a war make.

    Trump will get criticized regardless of what he does in Syria. I guess the Obama administration is a hard act to follow with all their foreign policy successes in Syria and elsewhere. Hillary Clinton now publicly regrets that they didn’t bomb all of Assad’s air bases. Clearly, she understands they failed to some degree in Syria.

    Obama’s lead from the back of the pack philosophy weakened the United States and emboldened Russia and China to fill the global power vacuum.

    • padresteve

      Doug,

      Don’t forget that Obama sought the GOP’s support to act militarily in Syria. He was rebuffed. True, he could have taken matters into his own hands and sent in the military. If he did that he would have been condemned by the same Senators and Representatives who are now praising Trump. Likewise, who in the GOP majority was willing to support Obama in the Ukraine?

      Hillary probably would have been more willing to risk confrontation than Obama, but where was Trump in the Ukraine or Syria? He was against intervention and spoke and tweeted relentlessly against it. Now he’s in charge. The man has no clue or moral center. He is acting totally on emotion and what he sees on television.

      Personally there is nothing more than I would want to witness than a TLAM flying up Bashir Assad’s ass and blowing him to the Hell of his choice, the same with Putin. But a few dozen TLAMs fired off in the heat of the moment are no substitute for well thought out policy that matches the end, ways, and means with the desired goal of the military action. Thus includes the observance of our own and international law as well as having the support of the people. Basic Clausewitz.

      Mark my words, the Trump administration will destroy us before they are done. There won’t be enough body bags, and yes I still have skin in the game. I have nightmares about this.

      Have a good night

      Steve

  3. As I said for a long time, Trump wanted to become President to bolster his own publicity and company interests. He has proven that time and time again since becoming POTUS. This attack against Syria, IMHO, was long overdue. Assad has been using Chemical Weapons against his own people since 2011 and no-one did anything to stop him, Obama wanted to but was stopped by Congress from doing anything.
    Let’s not pretend that Russia will stand idly by and do nothing they will eventually have to take on the Trump administration they put in power or curb him by any means they can. They want Assad to remain for their own ends and do not care about the Syrian people, they only care about Russians and the old Soviet State.
    This is going to escalate and cover the planet in war (again we have all been at war since 2001 but the enemy doesn’t fight by our rules because they’re cowards). We stopped Hitler and his Axis compatriots and we will do it again if the need arises, terrorists should beware of the power of the Western Alliance between Europe and the USA as we never know when to quit until we win.

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