America awoke today to a news cycle that showed great promise mingled with appropriate trepidation. To start with, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Russia yesterday with news for Vladimir Putin that America formally “denounces” Russia’s support of Syria’s leader, Assad. The Japan Times refers to this by saying that Tillerson represents the U.S. as President Donald Trump resumes “America’s traditional mantle as leader of a unified West.” This means that at least the two superpowers are talking instead of having their warships strutting around one another, but just what does it mean? After all, the Japan Times used such fragrant language (though Putin refused to speak to Trump).
Well, that is where the problem arises for much of the Presidents base. Most of his loyal followers do not want the United States involved with building other countries, policing the world, changing different regimes, or having constant warfare. This we had with Obama and Bush, prior. The GOP stance is that it is America’s moral obligation to lead while the more libertarian wing says that we are not helping, but hurting. They also suggest that this could lead us right into the arms of World War III and more innocents will perish if that happens than anything Assad could do even if he killed everyone in his region. From that standpoint, America is playing a dangerous game with both Russia and China.
Trump’s cabinet sent Tillerson with the full resolute stance that Assad is to be abandoned. America refuses to look at any data, it seems, that shows that Putin could be correct and that the chemical attack which started this whole round of issues was not Assad’s doing. Syria has claimed since the first child fell ill that this was a strike that hit a chemical plant, but that it was not done with malicious intent since they did not know that ISIS and terrorist groups like them had such weapons at the strike zone. They, and Russia, claim that the war on terror simply hit the wrong spot in error, and for that, Assad does not deserve to be deposed.
“It is clear to us the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end,” Tillerson said as he headed to Russia from Italy. “We hope that the Russian government concludes that they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner in Bashar Al-Assad.” Adhering like glue to the idea that Assad did this on purpose and that Russia allowed it by not getting rid of such WMD in Syria, he also added, “It is unclear whether Russia failed to take this obligation seriously and whether Russia has been incompetent. But this distinction doesn’t much matter to the dead. We can’t let this happen again.”
Such words make one wonder how this Russian meeting is going to turn out. Putin does not see his country as one who must submit to the U.S. in ANY way. With Russia’s stance being “the chemicals that killed civilians belonged to rebels, not to Assad’s government” and that the U.S.A. is using this as an excuse to nation build in Syria, things are icy at best before Tillerson even touches down. America refuses to listen to the argument, even though Putin has asked for the U.N. to inspect the data independent from the U.S.
A White House official said, “Russia’s allegations fit with a pattern of deflecting blame from the (Syrian) regime and attempting to undermine the credibility of its opponents.” While this may be true in every way and while Putin may be a dreadful man (and likely is), if he is right, then that is what matters. Even an evil man can have facts on his side and need not be wrong all of the time. Just because Putin “the man” is disliked by most people doesn’t mean that he is wrong on this particular matter. Assad had no motive for doing this, after all. ISIS was on the run and he had a series of victories over the terror group.
Yes, Assad, too, is a monster of a person, practically soulless. Still, like Kadaffi in Libya, Syria is against ISIS and, while not the kind of people that most in the U.S. would invite over for a beer, they are better than ISIS. Libya showed the world how forms of Islamic rule such as they had, though distasteful, is better than what comes after. When Obama botched Libya after Bush foiled Iraq and Afghanistan, America lost the faith of much of the world. That is what bad leadership reaps and we are seeing that today.
Now for the good news.
The White House said that this Syrian issue is NOT going to “spiral out of control,” according to Defense Secretary James Mattis. Everyone recalls the “brief” involvement George H.W. Bush promised America when Kuwait was invaded by Saddam in the early 1990s. We are still there in 2017! We know that the Vietnam War started small and that even World War I was caused by the shooting of just ONE MAN. If one man dying can kill millions of people, how much damage can 80 chemically gassed people (mostly children) cause?
Thankfully, we also remember that President Ronald Reagan hit Libya like a hammer, warned them, and left. Kadaffi’s daughter died, sadly, but that leader walked right and stopped highjacking planes and breeding fear that very day. He did not bother anyone until Obama attacked him for wanting his own currency, so single strikes CAN happen with good leadership. Thankfully, that defines Trump, so this may turn out to be a one-off affair if handled correctly.
Mattis did add, “I’m confident the Russians will act in their own best interest and there is nothing in their best interest to say they want this situation to go out of control,” a caveat that darkens the good news just a bit. If he was saying, “this won’t spiral out of control if Russia admits that they are wrong,” life could be bad. Russia is not going to be pushed around even if they are proven wrong. They have too much pride for that and this needs to be remembered by Tillerson.
Even BETTER news is that Trump said, “We’re not going into Syria. “Our policy is the same — it hasn’t changed. We’re not going into Syria.” That means that Trump is not the liar and shill that Democrats were so happy to claim. He is not “just like Bush,” he did not mislead his voters, and he is not starting World War III. We on the right may argue about if this strike was a bad idea, but that is a far cry from calling him the liar that Obama was.
“Our big mission is getting rid of ISIS,” he said. “That’s where it’s always been. But when you see kids choking to death, you watch their lungs burning out, we had to hit him and hit him hard,” he added. For us on the right, we just have to ask, was this the best way to bring down ISIS? Syria is against the terror group, too. As this plays onward to its end, it may be more vital now than ever that those who are opposed to Trump at least work with him to bring about an end that doesn’t see nuclear war. After that, we can go back to fighting as usual.