"It would seem that, at least so far, the Trump Syria policy is more or less a continuation of the Obama policy. This may reflect the fact that after allowing the carnage, to coin a phrase, to go on for six years the options left to the administration range from bad to catastrophic, but allowing this to go on interminably is probably not going to work."
"Not only is the situation horrific in a humanitarian sense, but it is generating a migration catastrophe that is overwhelming Europe. It doesn't seem to be an accident that the attack came after the administration signalled it could live with Assad, which once again is more or less a continuation of the Obama policy."
Eric Edelman, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey
"The question is what comes next. There are options, starting with military strikes that harm Assad's capacity to make war and would almost certainly persuade him never to use chemical weapons again."
"The administration is caught right now: As Assad's actions become worse and worse our rhetoric gets tougher, which is as it should be -- but then inaction seems less and less defensible."
"Even a very limited strike [of the sort Obama had in mind and then walked away from] would gain widespread support, and would be a powerful message to Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping that the president is going to be a tough contender."
Elliott Abrams, former deputy national security adviser
It is completely deaf and disinterestedly blind to that very phenomenon that is drowning Europe's ability to cope with an immense influx of refugees fleeing Syria's agonizing dismemberment. As for Russia, the very fact that Europe is desperately attempting to cope with that influx of refugees and migrants speaks of bitter vengeance by default as well as malicious design, a product of the Russian airforce generously aiding and abetting the Syrian military's vendetta against its Sunni Syrian population, bombing civilians, their hospitals and schools and the humanitarian groups striving to aid them.
When all eyes swivelled over the years of barbaric attacks by a government on its civilian population by chemical attacks, incessant barrel bombing, sectarian-based revenge attacks by Shiite militias and Hezbollah terrorist groups working in comfortable tandem with the Iranian Republican al Quds force to maintain a winning momentum for Bashar al Assad, invoking the scourge of Islamic State as their true focus, not innocent civilians, the United States under the Obama administration sat tight.
Simple enough expedients enforced by a U.S.-led coalition of willing European partners could readily have established a workable no-fly zone, could have struck the regime's air force to persuade Assad to palaver with his opponents rather than resort happily to the barbarism that comes so naturally to him, but recalling the failure that Libya's rescue from its tyrant has become, no less than that of Iraq, both of which suffered the advantage of U.S. involvement, caution overruled the moral imperative.
The Middle East, it is true, is a cesspool of raving tribal and sectarian hatred, revelling in the pathology of vengeance and the honour that meting out death restores. Yet the routines established whereby slaughter of innocents took place so matter-of-factly while the leaders of other nations winced and recoiled in horror, elicited no intervention. Well, now that 59 Patriot missiles were launched from shipboard toward installations on an airfield said to have been the source of the Sarin attack, that gesture's consequences are yet to be seen.
For its part, Russia has abrogated the agreement with the U.S. on coordinating air sorties over Syria to avoid accidental dust-ups. And a Russian warship is now headed toward the area where the two U.S. destroyers are situated in the eastern Mediterranean; what, so they can glare threateningly at one another? As for Bashar al-Assad's airforce, barely a hiccough, since there are other military airstrips in good working order and the regime's military planes took off as usual on their bombing missions the 'morning after'.
This new American administration, however, has put those against whom its attention has been newly riveted, 'on notice'. In a way that former President Obama never did. His reactions to events requiring a response, became quite predictable; signifying low-key anger, annoyance, petulance, but no meaningful action. This new gesture of a willingness to act, despite potential consequences prudently avoided, opens up a new era in international relations.
Above all, the very fact that President Trump is anything but predictable appears to represent the most deadly arrow in the quiver that the returning American reality has presented of late.
|Russian warship heading toward U.S. navy destroyers FoxNewsworld|