There’s a new attitude in Town
There’s a new attitude in town and the establishment doesn’t like it very much. Government doesn’t seem to be interested in just talking about problems and commiserating with victims anymore. The prez didn’t want to sit down over a couple of beers and discuss the differences with Assad. He recognized Assad was a bad actor and just sent a few cruise missiles to remove some of the issue. He didn’t set up for a protracted engagement in Syria, he just said “Don’t gas your people like the Nazis did. It’s wrong!” He did this with a short 30 min bombing of chemical storage units and then the Navy Stood down. There’s no need to wring your hands or fret about what the Syrians will think because the message came through loud and clear. There may not be a “red line” but gassing your own people will get an immediate and definitive response. Conducting this exercise while the Chinese gov’t was in the White house sent a very good message to the Chinese as well. The US will take decisive action and appropriate action when necessary. I think it’s important that Trump didn’t blink as Russia sent a warship to the area as well. It’s conceivable they may attempt to shoot down any additional cruise missiles we launch or directly attack our ships but if we are prepared then we can respond directly and quickly and most importantly very hard in order to squelch any in depth retaliation, there will be plenty of people who will claim Trump is “off the reservation” but that’s nothing new, they said the same thing about Regan. This is a totally different way of thinking about life for Americans since we have been trying so hard to appease everyone for the last 8-12 years the rest of the world has begun to expect us to appease everyone so they will act accordingly. Too many of our politicians act like “Old women”. It’s time to stand up for what is right.
Something else which is new is Trump is not afraid to call a spade a spade such as Assad is an “animal”. This goes against every conventional rule of diplomacy; we must use nice, non threatening words to call something or someone out in such a manner that only diplomats really get the depth of the insult. Trump’s not worrying about getting himself re-elected – refreshing isn’t it – like every other politician we’re used to seeing.
What to do about Assad! After thinking about it for a bit I’ll bet most people could come up with some ideas. For myself I’ll let the professionals who look at the military side and aren’t afraid to take a risk (very important) or who are able to look at the world realistically (also very important and missing from the likes of Geraldo Rivera, John McCain’s thinking, 90% of the Obama & Clinton associates and many of the establishment proletariats), make the recommendations. But it’s fun to speculate and sometimes encourages healthy debates and better understanding of the issues. I doubt a meaningful agreement could be reached between the US & Russia to truly condemn the use of gas on the civilians and put real restrictions on Assad but that is what is needed. Then you can focus on the ISIS leaders imbedded in Syria to root them out. I see Russia’s role in this to primarily hold Assad back (like the animal he is) and then jointly, US & Russia, surgically take out the top four levels of ISIS and probably Al Qaeda extremists. A slim possibility of this happening could occur but it would require allowing Russia and Iran to divide Syria up between the two of them. The US has no practical use for the Syrian area since we do have Jordan and Israel as allies in the area and a potential tenuous agreement with Russia held together by our strength. With this in place we could box Iran in to help control the situation. This is a wish list scenario and I think it has less than a 10% chance of success. Russia will never agree to a treaty except verbally and would never follow through on it if they did. There is too much history of distrust, our leadership changes every 4-8 years and the new leader likely will change the game rules when they take control. When bona-fide treaties are formed Russia basically ignores the agreement and does whatever they want, aka SALT I & II. Russia believes it needs a presence in the middle east and Syria presents a good outlet to water ways, they have made an agreement with Iran for the southern half of Syria while Iran gets the northern half. Iran potentially helps them with the Muslims in Russia so what does the US offer – not much except a willingness to go after bad actors who have the potential to export their terrorism to the US. Russia’s pride alone dictates they believe they can scare us from any military conflict especially when they read some of the propaganda and misinformation (misinformation from a lack of understanding) our “vaunted” press puts out.
So, what to do with uncooperative Russia and Iran. Not much, set the line at no chemical weapons, build a covert intelligence network w/in Syria and surgically strike the leaders of ISIS wherever they are located. Outwardly ignore Russian & Iranian blustering, behind the scenes keep a firm dialog going with Russia as long as possible before making it public while removing key players in ISIS as the intelligence leads confirm.