Friday, 7 April 2017
Trump Does the Right Thing in Syria
This blog has been a fierce critic of President Trump and his bovine administration. But it is also prepared to be open minded and to give him credit where it is due. His intervention in Syria is principled and the right thing to do. It is also brave given that it goes against everything he has previously said and has enraged many who support him.
Barack Obama should have intervened in 2013 when Assad, a vicious dictator, used chemical weapons and crossed a red line. We wanted to intervene too but were prevented by the game playing of Wallace and the Labour Party who promised support only to withdraw it on specious grounds so as to chalk up a 'win.' It wasn't a win. It was pusillanimous gesture politics of the most contemptible kind.
We cannot of course know what would have happened had America and the West chosen to get involved in Syria. But there is a good chance that intervention would have been decisive and that the civil war would by now be over. Had we intervened and made clear to Russia that we were no longer prepared to look the other way then Assad may well have fallen.
For now the Trump administration is saying that this is a one off intervention and that they will not be further involved. It is a deterrent to prevent further use of chemical weapons. Of course wearing my cynical hat one also has to suspect other motivations behind this. But for now let us give credit to Trump for doing the right thing, of re-drawing that line in the sand and sending a signal that enough is enough. Will Russia look the other way or escalate? That is the danger. But that doesn't mean that doing nothing would have been right.