Trump flexes presidential muscle with Syrian attack

Ashley McCann, Opinions Editor

Just three days after the chemical weapons attack in Syria, allegedly committed by the Syrian government, the U.S. reacted by launching 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the USS Ross and USS Porter, positioned in the Mediterranean Sea. Fifty-eight of the 59 missiles hit their intended targets. The strikes targeted al-Shayrat Air Base, the base that the Syrian military allegedly launched aircraft that carried out chemical attacks on Syrian citizens. Alongside Syrian forces at al-Shayrat, Russia also has forces stationed at the air base, with the troops maintaining a presence in the country since 2015.

“Despite being warned of the attack in advance, it appears Russia did not deploy surface-to-air missiles, which are capable of taking out U.S. Tomahawk missiles,” said Tim Lister of CNN.

The chemical attack that was allegedly committed by the Syrian government is a disgusting display of inhumane and selfish leadership. While it is important to address those injustices, it is also important to assess what an attack on a Syrian airbase means moving forward. It is logical to assume that after the Tomahawk attack, Bashar Al-Assad will most likely think twice before employing the use of chemical weapons in his own country. However, the problem in Syria is a global difficulty, and as a result of a misjudgment by President Obama, considerable strife has continued to affect Syria and every country across the world.

“President Obama’s gross miscalculation in 2013 was to wager that the conflict could be contained within Syria’s borders. Reflecting a widely held realpolitik view at the time, political scientist John Mearsheimer argued that Syria did not affect the core strategic interests of the West and was of ‘little importance for American security,’” said Nader Hasemi of CNN.

While unforeseen circumstances morphed the predicted trajectory of the Syrian conflict, what was first overlooked by the Obama administration is now a large obstacle that President Trump and his cabinet need to assess with caution and policies that explore numerous avenues of approach.

“All of the key themes at the heart of the turmoil in the Middle East appear in the Syrian conflict: The problem of political authoritarianism; the struggle for democracy, terrorism and rise of radical Islamic militancy; the regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia; the spread of sectarianism; intervention by the great powers; and the egregious violation of human rights,” said Hashemi.

Therefore, actions taken to curb Syrian government aggression will not only affect those who live within the country’s border. These unfortunate recurring themes present significant challenges, and while many may think its right to punish the government for alleged chemical attacks, those issues must first be addressed with wider lenses that focus on the ripple effects that plague the entire Middle East.

While launching missiles at an inhumane government may make people feel all “’’Merica!” inside, it is important to remember that if the American government really cared about the mistreatment of Syrian citizens, we would be open to accepting Syrian refugees. Trump’s decision to launch missiles in Syria was a dangerous, self-serving avenue to pursue.

While the missile attack did result in damage to Syrian military resources, it did not result in the prevention of Syrian military operations. It resulted in giving Assad an opportunity to say he and his associates survived American aggression and continue to be fully operational. While Trump may be able to flex his muscles with missiles, Assad has been flexing his in inhumane, blasphemous ways that should have been assessed in a different way.

The Syrian conflict must be addressed with care and caution, specifically with a focus on ways America’s interaction could further destabilize the region.

The Lewis Flyer

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