With the swirling events in the World, I am often asked by friends and readers to help sift through the noise to establish an opinion of a new development. The surprise attack against Syria by President Donald Trump Friday night is one such example. Although the President indicated in advance his shock at the pictures of "beautiful Syrian babies" being gassed by their own President, his decision to strike Syria was still a surprise to most. As a matter of fact, even though Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has gassed his own people for years, apparently Trump either had no knowledge of it or it had not struck him the same way as Friday. Either earlier response is strange for a person interested in serving as President of the United States for many years. Huh?
Another irony on the President's part is his denial of those same "beautiful Syrian babies" safe asylum in the United States on a temporary basis, while he instead decided to destroy part of an airport (not the killers of the babies) in Syria. Trump reportedly told the Russians in advance of the attack to allow Syria to relocate any strategic targets. Huh?
Yet another irony on the President's part is his outrage at Assad while at the same time Trump calls Assad's mentor, supplier of weapons, and full co-conspirator Russian Vladimir Putin a great leader. Trump even went so far as to say his agent, General Michael Flynn should have discussed lifting U.S. Sanctions against Russia (which might be an act of treason) while Russia had allegedly just manipulated our democratic election. Trump does know it is Russia behind most of Assad's carnage in Syria, doesn't he? Huh?
Critics of Trump speculate that his action Friday only creates a diversion from the multiple Legislative and Executive Branch Investigations of his failed disclosures of his possible campaign connections to Russia. If that was the intent, it is not going to work.
But, putting those strange Trumpism's aside, I have said before that President Obama's handling of Syria, including failing to respond to attacks by Assad against his people was deplorable. Obama did not have the courage to take on Assad and Putin because he was more concerned about not having a serious international conflict during an important election. Trump at least did respond and although it was a questionable response, his unpredictability worked to favor in this case. Trump has all countries, friends and foes alike, on guarded alert, and that is probably a good thing for our national security. But, he needs to understand that all such decisions must be made with prior consultation among members of Congress from both parties for a united front.
Now comes the hard part because a solution in Syria is far more complex than firing some missiles from a distant air craft carrier. A real quagmire is the word I previously used to describe Syria after Obama, and now with Trump. The crisis now probably includes Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel, along with Russia, the United States and NATO as participants, not including about 30 more Middle Eastern countries with connections to Syria.
Sage General Colin Powell reminded us if we break an international pot at Pottery Barn, we own it. That cracked pot just broke Friday night.