Many are claiming that Trump is being inconsistent in illegally attacking the Syrian regime with cruise missiles.
After all, he had been saying the U.S. should focus on defeating
ISIS, and now he seems to be going after Assad. But contradictions from
Trump are a dime a dozen.
A closer examination shows a deeper pattern of remarkable consistency
in U.S. policy toward Syria that is far more critical than the
perennial contradictions of politicians like Trump.
To summarize U.S. actions and non-actions in terms of direct publicly
announced U.S. air attacks targeting the Syrian regime: In 2013, when
Assad was losing the war, Obama refrained from strikes that may well
have ended his regime. Now, four years later, when Assad seems close to
winning the war, Trump with a revamped NSC does a 180 on his previous
pronouncements and attacks Assad.
Push away the personalities. Dispense with the rhetoric. Free
yourself from the spin cycle that much of the media obsess over. Just
follow the policy.
The evidence is that the underlying U.S. policy—whether the president
is Obama or Trump—is to prolong the Syrian war as much as possible. Let
Assad off the hook when he’s cornered, hit him when he’s about to win.
Destroyed tanks in front of a mosque in Azaz, Syria, in August 2012. (Christiaan Triebert / CC 2.0)