Candidate Donald Trump wasn’t your ordinary Republican when it came to foreign policy. Unlike the countless candidates he ran against, he was painted as the only non-interventionist in the bunch (aside from Rand Paul), due to his constant blasting of the trillions spent on the war in Iraq.
Trump had also made it clear (over the years, and during the campaign) that he was opposed to any intervention in Syria.
We should stay the hell out of Syria, the "rebels" are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS?ZERO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2013
Remember, all these ‘freedom fighters’ in Syria want to fly planes into our buildings.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2013
If Obama attacks Syria and innocent civilians are hurt and killed, he and the U.S. will look very bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2013
Of course, as we all know, Trump authorized a strike on a Syrian airfield last week, destroying 20 percent of the Syrian army’s functional aircraft after the Assad regime allegedly used chemical weapons to kill innocent civilians. While the deaths that inspired the attack were horrific, why would these 80 deaths — in a conflict that’s killed hundreds of thousands — be the tipping point? Eric Trump claims that his sister, Ivanka, pushed her father over the edge on the issue, when she expressed heartbreak and outrage over the chemical attack.
No one wants war with Syria — and we can pray that the strikes were only a one-off attack, not a prelude to heavy US involvement in the conflict. And, while the strikes prove once and for all that Trump isn’t in cahoots with Russia (as Russia is backing the Assad regime), Putin is warning Trump against further action — citing Trump’s own previous rhetoric.
According to the Washington Examiner:
Russian President Vladimir Putin compared the recent U.S. strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad to George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003. “This resembles very much the situation of 2003 and the war in Iraq,” Putin said during a press conference Tuesday. “First of all, there was a campaign launched in Iraq and it finished with the destruction of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the emergence of [the Islamic State] on the international arena.”
That statement continued a line of criticism Russia and its allies are making in front of the United Nations, as they cast doubt on U.S. and Western European conclusions that Assad’s regime is responsible for the April 4 chemical weapons attack. The Bolivian government invoked the failure to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction during Friday’s security council meeting and Putin suggested that the United States might stage a chemical weapons attack to justify another bombing of Syria.
Putin made that accusation while standing alongside Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who was notably traveling in Moscow even as his home country hosted a G-7 summit that produced several Western statements critical of Russia.
Rex Tillerson used the G-7 summit to place a heavy share of the blame for last week’s attack on Russian shoulders, as he recalled that Putin pledged to remove Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile from Syria in 2013. “It is unclear whether Russia failed to take this obligation seriously or Russia has been incompetent, but this distinction doesn’t much matter to the dead,” Tillerson said. “We can’t let this happen again.”
Putin has only strengthened Russia’s support of the Assad regime following the strike, claiming that the chemical attack was a “false flag” to justify US missile strikes. It’s unclear who exactly he thinks was behind the “false flag,” but what we do know for sure is that Putin is denying that Assad has any responsibility for the attack.
Regardless of one’s opinion on the Assad regime, ISIS is territorial holder #2 in Syria, and they’re thus the best positioned to fill the void in absence of Assad.
Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]