You’ve heard it from me before: I’m no political expert and I always welcome counter-arguments.
With that, I feel that because Russia is allied with Bashar Assad, striking his command posts is provoking Russia. And so we have a complicated situation, in which our enemy is supported by our “alleged” friend, Russia. Why is alleged in quotes. Certainly because we are not in confrontation with Russia. Also because we do not want to be in a confrontation with Russia. Yet, tensions run high, and the friendship deserves quotes. So what are the pros and cons of limited military strikes against Assad’s regime?
It signals – loud and clear – that chemical weapons won’t be tolerated
It signals that we are decisive and not afraid to take action
One which is little talked about is who will replace Assad if he is overthrown. His people know him to be brutal, but the competing players aren’t much better, and may be even worse. So, we may be shooting off our nose to spite our face.
Assad has done terrific damage with non-chemical weapons. So putting an end to chemical warfare isn’t likely to reduce the lethalness of his regime, only the manner in which it is implemented
It increases the risk that we’ll have a direct confrontation with Russia, a downside most will agree is an outcome to be avoided
As in business, I believe in a lot of talking, discussions, and negotiation, in this case with Russia. Signaling strength is usually okay, but when tensions run high, and we have many instances of strengths in other countries, reducing the strength in favor of a willingness to talk is a good thing. Supporting this is that not everything is known. Did Assad use the weapons? Why is Russia supporting Assad? It’s fine to presume, but when lives are involved via weaponry it’s important to “Ask questions, shoot later”. It’s good that NATO supported our actions, but I feel that international politics can get a bit too black and white, even though most things are NOT black and white. “They used chemical weapons we punish them” seems fine at first blush, but the points brought up in this blog-post suggest there are other factors which must be considered. Finally, Putin, whether we like him or not, is respected by his people, considered a good leader, and was touted by Trump as one. So, to bomb his allies, unilaterally, is inappropriate.
What are your thoughts?