Framed as a reaction to a chemical weapons attack likely conducted by the regime of Bashar Assad in the Syrian town of Douma just one week prior, President Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron have all deemed this strike necessary to show that the use of chemical weapons is intolerable.
Although it seems very unlikely that this limited attack will result in another world war, this does appear to suggest that the West is not yet willing to give up on the 7-year-old conflict. Using chemical weapons is abhorrent and against international norms. Yet one should not forget that more “conventional” weapons (i.e. guns and bombs) are the main weapons used to kill the vast majority of an estimated 500,000 Syrians since the civil war began. As the carnage continues, the U.S., as a global leader, should more deeply consider how it will respond — not only in terms of military action but also diplomacy, refugee policy and humanitarian aid.
Even though I am no fan of President Trump, I’m glad that he is standing up to both bullies — Syrian President Bashar Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin. After all, when it comes to bullying, Trump is no amateur. And it’s no wonder why Putin defends Assad. Just as Assad kills his own people, Putin poisons his enemies and makes jokes about it. Putin and Assad are two peas in a pod.
The U.S. and its allies under the order of President Trump have struck Syria. We strongly condemn this act of war, which was not approved by the U.S. Congress. The best way forward for the Syrian people is to bring everyone to the table and work on a resolution. Too many innocent lives have been lost. If the president does want to help the Syrian people, let’s start by bringing more Syrian refugees into the U.S. and providing a safe haven for them — only 11 have been allowed into the U.S. this year.
If you stop and think about it, our policy (if there is one) in Syria makes no sense. We know who is doing, not only the chemical attacks, but also the other attacks that have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. So what do we do? We try to destroy the chemicals, while carefully making sure that nothing happens to Bashar Assad. It would be like knowing where a murderer is living but only going after his weapons!
Either we want to stop it or we don’t. Do it or vacate the country. But shooting some missiles into remote areas of Syria every 12 months while Assad goes back to his Damascus office the next morning is beyond inane.