Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin were supposed to be making friends, not making war. Both military superpowers were supposed to make the world a safer and better place. But that won’t happen, at least for now, because for United States and Russia to become buddies will upset many politicians and defence contractors who depend on war to make money.
In what appears to be President Trump’s first foreign war since his presidency, he has ordered a military strike against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria following this week’s deadly chemical attack. The Thursday night strike was the first direct American assault on the government of Assad since that country’s civil war began six years ago.
Two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea – destroyers USS Ross and USS Porter – fired 59 Tomahawk missiles targeting a specific airbase – Ash Sha’irat – located 38 kilometres southeast of the city of Homs province in western Syria. The U.S. believes the government of Bashar al-Assad launched the chemical weapons from the airfield.
There was no immediate word on casualties. U.S. officials claimed that people were not targeted and that aircraft and infrastructure at the site were hit, including the runway and gas fuel pumps. Trump authorized the attack after he was briefed by Defence Secretary James N. Mattis in Palm Beach, Fla., where the president is hosting visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping.
President Trump claimed – “Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syrian and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.”
However, Syria says its military “did not and will not” use chemical weapons, denying accusations it was behind an attack on a rebel-held town in Idlib province. At least 86 people were killed and hundreds – including people foaming at the mouth – were hospitalised after Tuesday’s chemical incident on the town of Khan Sheikhoun.
Backed up by Russia, Syrian has claimed that its army had actually bombed a warehouse belonging to rebels that contained chemical weapons. The rebels deny this, of course. But the West, including the U.S. wasn’t impressed and squarely put the blames on Syria, the same way the Syrian government was blamed for a 2013 chemical attack using “Sarin” gas.
It doesn’t matter if President Bashar al-Assad wasn’t responsible for the chemical attack. Even if Assad was innocent in the first place, Trump administration had to strike Syria anyway. As usual, starting a war on foreign soil has been a great tool for many U.S. presidents in the past, a diversion from domestic problems – which Trump has plenty.
As a start, Donald Trump cannot afford to be seen as too close to Vladimir Putin, not while the U.S. president is under investigation for his ties to Russia. And what better way to show that he isn’t Russia’s little puppy than to attack Bashar al-Assad, Putin’s ally in the region. Trump was careful not to kill Russian forces, which weren’t present at the airbase when it was attacked.
In fact, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis confirmed that Russia was given a courtesy advance warning of the airstrike and had deliberately avoided the area of the base where the Russians live. Trump administration just wanted to show off the U.S. military prowess without harming a single Russian soul, which could lead to a war with Russia.
Consistently attacked by the stubborn liberal mainstream media, Trump also cannot afford to be seen as another lame duck. In 2013, when Obama stated that the use of chemical weapons by Assad meant crossing a “red line” the West would not ignore, it was just an empty threat. Obama had done nothing and Trump has no plan to do the same.
Was it a coincidence that Trump ordered his first military strike at his Mar-a-Lago club while hosting visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping? Obviously, it was a drama to send a message to China that the same could happen to North Korea if the Chinese doesn’t do anything to stop the insane Dictator Kim Jong-un from lobbing missiles at Japan and South Korea.
Conveniently, a horrible chemical attack happened just days before Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S., and Bashar al-Assad has, again, been accused as the villain. But the Syrian president is already winning the war with assistance from Russia and Iran so why would he be dumb enough to attract attention by using banned weapons, which is overkill?
It also happens that the airbase being rained by 59 Tomahawk missiles is not within Syrian air defence coverage, hence there wasn’t any Russian-made S300 or S400 to defend it. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson merely said the U.S. had a “high level of confidence” that the Assad regime had carried out the chemical weapons attack – without offering any concrete proof.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, warned before the missile strike – “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.” Clearly, the message was intended for China in an attempt to intimidate the Middle Kingdom to control North Korea.
Trump had previously been a critic of proposed military action against the Assad regime in 2013, arguing that it was costly and that then-President Obama required congressional approval to make the strike. But now, he’s making a U-turn. If the U.S. can prove that Assad was the mastermind behind the barbarian chemical attack, that monster must be terminated.
Even if Trump is serious about getting rid of Assad, he should strike air base in Latakia and the port of Tartus – both under the protection of long-range S300 and S400 missiles. Syria has recently upgraded its Soviet-era missiles with Chinese technology. To attack an airbase after telling everybody to get out is simply dumb, weak and laughable.
Will President Trump bravely declare a war with both Russia and China for protecting Syria and North Korea respectively, if both nations refuse to play balls? After all, both countries are protecting dictators who have killed children with chemical weapon and have threatened to attack America with nuclear weapon. Otherwise, it was just another act of American aggression against the weak (Syria).