Monday, April 10, 2017

FIRST TEST: SYRIA

Americans are weary of entering another international conflict, especially one where the impact to our interests is murky. After two prolonged conflicts, the general public hopes to avoid military engagement, leaving the investment of taxpayer funds, countless lives, and military infrastructure to those who have more stake in the situation. But, when the good fail to act or demonstrate indecision, evil, in the form of brutal dictators and dangerous terror regimes, has the room it needs to succeed and grow.

Image result for Syrian CrisisSince 2011, the Syrian crisis taken countless lives, especially many innocent children and other non-combatants. For some time now, the situation led to a major humanitarian crisis, much of which is reaching the shores of Europe and home here in the United States. The images from this conflict are ones that will stand the test of time. Unfortunately, many world powers failed to act decisively or work to counter ruthless aggression. In defiance of acceptable methods of combat, Syrian military repeatedly used chemical weapons against its own people, facing only harsh rhetoric and empty threats in response.

A new administration with a new approach. After another use of a chemical weapon leaving images of dying children being treated, President Donald Trump faced his real first foreign policy moment, where he responded in manner praised globally and by some of leading foes. The punishment for using chemical weapons was not empty rhetoric launched on 60 Minutes, or even his preferred Twitter account. Instead, the authorization for an air strike, targeting the airbase responsible for the chemical attack, provided proportional and swift justice. Many leading political figures on both sides felt for some time that the United States should disable airbase or at least provide safe air spaces.

Despite the angry sentiments from anti-Trump people, the action does not bring us into the war, nor is it unconstitutional. As many people should know, the Commander in Chief has 90 days to obtain a declaration of war from Congress, providing ample time to pick and choose skirmishes that are brief in nature. While the Trump Administration reserved the right to do more, one cannot read more into the air strike, as previous administrations used air strikes as a recourse for unacceptable actions made by others.

For over five years, brutal behavior and purposeful killing of innocent Syrians was met by hollow rhetoric. The Syrian policy under President Obama was indecisive and ineffective. As a result, Russia outplayed the West gaining more than acceptable leverage in the crisis, where it props up the brutal regime. Now, there are consequences for crossing the red line. In spite of rhetoric, Russia did not do much to counter our strike, even with anti-missile defense reportedly in place.  

President Obama faced his first foreign policy challenge days into his term, which required intervention by Europe to resolve. President Trump inherited his and handled with much acclaim. Regardless of political affiliation or ideology, many Americans do not want our soldiers to bear the responsibility of this conflict, when able bodied Syrians flee to Europe and our border. Hopefully, Trump and his team can work through this diplomatically, reserving minimal military force for responses to behaviors like Syrian recently demonstrated.