The Syrian Missile Crisis
April 13, 2017
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In response to chemical attacks carried out by the Syrian Government, President Trump launched a military strike against an airbase that housed the airplanes responsible for the attacks. The goal of the strike was to disable the airbase from any further use. 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from U.S. warships in the Mediterranean, 58 of which hit their targets successfully disabling the airbase. The chemical attacks killed dozens of civilians some of which were children. A video of the victims was released and has been reported to be an influencing factor in the President’s decision to carry out the strike. Assad’s office called it an “disgraceful act” and also “short sighted,” Russia has also stated that the strike was an “act of aggression”.
In an interview with David Goldberg, a Political Science Professor at the College of DuPage he had this to say in response to, “Assad called Trump’s action short sighted, do you think Trump may have acted with thinking it fully through?” “Well we do know that he was heavily influenced by the video, the horrible video of kids being loaded on backs of trucks, dead children; he was influenced by that. He said that he was against this in the past so it’s kind of hard to tell. It was short sighted in the sense that there were plenty of Republicans and Democrats urging Obama to do this for five years or fours years so it’s not like this is just out of the blue. No one was really, I think surprised by the action, maybe surprised by Trump doing it. So shortsighted in the sense of what will come next, that’s why I think he might answer yes to that because I think the United States needs to have a policy towards Syria and towards civil war in the middle east that we don’t currently have. It wasn’t very good during Obama is my opinion, but now there’s really nothing. So to go from bad to worse isn’t a policy.”
Russia has been a key role in this as well. As of right now Assad is backed by the Russians and has helped in their efforts to stop the rebels. This means Russians are present in Syria as of now and also were at the base that was struck by Trumps order. How many and who isn’t known at the moment. In a search for more answers on Russia I asked “Would deploying troops in Syria mean a war against Russia?” Goldberg responded “It could escalate to that. It’s definitely a challenge to Russian assets in the region. I don’t think it would escalate to a direct military confrontation between Russia and the U.S. military, I don’t see that happening. I could see tensions getting higher and there being real complications in this, but I wouldn’t see a land war in Syria between the United States and Russia.”
As of now it seems that only time will tell with this conflict. This may be the last of Trump’s action or it may be the beginning. A new written policy is most likely the answer to a lot of the larger questions like “What is our future in Syria going to be?” Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson is said to be meeting with his Russian counterpart soon so if any new information on the future of what our actions will be, it may be from result of that meeting.