The sailors throwing Tomahawks from the decks of the destroyers Ross and Porter are quite obviously bad at it. Of the 59 launched toward the Syrian airbase at Shayrat, only 23 made it. But if you make a consideration for the winds currently blowing in Washington, and moving Donald Trump off-course, his missiles' objective was primarily political. And in this regard, the American President didn't exaggerate in his Twitter post: Congratulations to our great military men and women for representing the United States, and the world, so well in the Syria attack.
Of course, as usual, nobody asked the world. And Washington was given that message by means of an emergency UNSC meeting. The UNSC would never give Representative Nikki Haley the mandate for an aggressive action towards Syria based on unproven accusations of using chemical weapons. Her predecessors in this room were much too theatrical. Always looking to use props. I think we must definitely remember this photo. In this very room we were told that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. That became a reason for invasion.
The result of that invasion was a million dead. That led to a series of atrocities in the region. Would we even be talking about ISIS now if it hadn't been for the invasion of Iraq? I think we must remember the lessons history teaches us. Trump, after his police-like transformation, reverting back to the American President's usual image as the worldwide policeman, used to be a man who knows how to learn a lesson. The editors at Time Magazine published their count: Before he was President, Donald Trump wrote at least 18 times on his Twitter account that the US should not strike Syria. He tried to persuade, and even openly ridiculed, Obama who spoke of the red lines that were allegedly crossed by Damascus.
The American President also made public statements. We want to fight Assad, a bad guy. But we want to fight against Assad on the side of the rebels, who we don't even know. If we fight against Assad, then we go up against Russia and other countries. This could end up resulting in World War III. Who the hell knows what will happen then, right? It was not only at this rally in Virginia where they agreed, it was this point of view that appealed to Trump's primary base voter: tired of the vague and unrealistic ambitions of Washington, and living in the poor and forgotten capitals of rural America. Campaign mastermind Stephen Bannon was successful in accumulating all this resentment.
Now, during what is a growing conflict inside the administration, Bannon, who was earlier sidelined from the National Security Council, has literally been moved aside, as seen in this picture. It shows the seating in the so-called «situation room» at the Florida residence Mar-a-Lago. At the forefront, there is a new favorite. It's Jared Kushner, husband of Trump's daughter, Ivanka, who was given the post of Senior Advisor. He's an active believer in military action in the Middle East. Daniel McCarthy, in the pages of National Interest, discusses the nature behind this dangerous flip-flopping.
Trump, in fact, has no margin for error, which is necessary for a politician. Of all recent US presidents, he remains the least popular. During the election campaign and after the inauguration Trump had the solid support of his base. And disappointing them by choosing McCain's strategy would not be the smartest move politically. Strengthening the White House's foundations by weakening or removing a government building of some overseas country from the face of the Earth is a temptation that not one US president has been able to refuse in the past few decades from Bush Sr. to Obama.
Compared to them, Trump isn't doing so well. He's been in the Oval Office for just over 70 days, but not of his pre-election initiatives has been implemented. His immigration order had to be rewritten due to massive protests. Nor could he immediately replace Obama's national health insurance plan, due to internal Republican opposition inside Congress. The investigation into Trump's potential ties to Moscow hangs over his head like a sword. Now Democrats and Republican hawks stand united and shoulder-to-shoulder. They want everybody to like them, and right away and so the real investigation of what happened in Khan Shaykhun is just not a priority, like Syria in general. Trump decided to fire his missiles before getting real facts only because the enemy he fears the most is not on the other side of the world, in Syria, but in his own backyard. It is a democratic union of neoconservatives. The political infighting in Washington is now all the more agonizing due to the real war happening in the Middle East. If that is really true, then the short-term effect exceeded the expectations of the current administration.
The rare voices of those who consider the Syrian strike unconstitutional are drowned out by the approving choir of both houses of Congress. Clearly, the President can take limited action, as allowed by the Congress. Like against the terrorists after the events of 9/11. Or like with Iraq, when Congress sanctioned the attack in 2002. But Congress didn't approve the firing of 59 cruise missiles into a country that didn't attack us. Donald Trump's actions are unconstitutional. He should not take such action next time. But in his letter to Congress, which Trump was required to send to Capitol Hill within 48 hours after the strike, the American President wrote only what the most people wanted to hear. We'll strike again if we have to. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is delighted about the possibility of that happening.
After grabbing Trump's finger, which he held out, capitalistic hawk McCain goes for the whole hand. Damascus is just a stop on the way. The Russians probably knew about the Syrian army moving their chemical weapons since they are allies with Bashar Al-Assad. They were the ones who used precision weapons against the hospitals in Aleppo. And they are just as bad as Assad. They helped him with the barrel bombs. They helped him time after time. That means it's time for new sanctions against Russia which will be gladly supported by the Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, which he was happy to announce. In the lower House such documents are regularly produced.
Another group of Congressmen, headed by Republican Alexander Mooney, called their new bill «Countermeasures against Russian aggression 2017.» If the bill becomes law, sanctions will be imposed on all legal entities and individuals who buy Russian government obligations, or those investing over $20 million in hydrocarbon production. There's nothing about Syria yet. Just Ukraine. But Nikki Haley is hardly starting such a dangerous negotiation at the UN just to discuss it. It could be that Russia deliberately allowed Syria to keep their chemical weapons.
Maybe Russia tried to destroy the chemicals, but was incompetent or maybe Assad's regime is fooling the Russians. Maybe he tells them he has no chemical weapons but he keeps storing them on his bases. The initiative's authors weren't at all interested in an independent and impartial investigation by qualified international organizations, of what really happened in Khan Shaykhun. I'll say more. You were afraid of it. Yes, you were afraid of a truly independent investigation. What if its results will run contrary your anti-regime paradigm? By the time CNN aired on Saturday night Nikki Haley had collected her thoughts. Apparently, the US has some secret evidence. And as usual, it's so secret, in fact, that it can only be shown to a limited number of people who are interested in seeing it. In our meetings this week, they showed us the proof and the President saw it. They're all classified, of course. I'm sure they will be declassified when it becomes possible. The host was nodding in approval, of course, and then CNN showed for the hundredth time in the past few days the footage of dying kids and how the rescuers wet them down with a hose.
The idea that Bashar Al-Assad is the last person who needs a mess like this, didn't really get out to American viewers, who really don't know anything about the current situation in Syria anyway. Deutsche Welle readers were luckier in this respect. Professor Gunter Mayer, who is the Head of the Arab World Research Center in the University of Mainz, had one logical answer to the question of who is to blame. Such gas attacks can be useful only to armed opposition groups. Their backs are against the wall, and they basically have no way to fight the regime militarily.
And, as shown by the recent reaction of US President Trump, actions such as these allow them to regain the support of Assad's opposition. A typical operation under someone else's flag. The invitation to this was actually first sent by Obama. He warned that if Damascus used chemical weapons, The US would definitely get involved. And so, Trump eagerly swallowed the bait in the form of shocking footage. On its face, it is obviously an extremely emotional approach to foreign policy. A President who watches TV is rather dangerous, as duly noted by Britain's Guardian, which also tries to find parallels. Emotions, no matter how called-for they are, keep leading foreign policy, especially in a region like the Middle East. Trump's reaction resembles Reagan's reaction to the Sabra and Shatila massacre, that took place in neighboring Lebanon in 1982.
As a result, the American Marines became involved in a no-win civil war from which they ended up running away. In the same CNN interview, Haley spoke of possible new strikes on Syria. Military action will only make the situation worse. This was China's position in the Security Council. Trump even tried to trip up the Celestial Empire. The strike on Syria was made during Xi Jinping's visit to USA. The meeting began with confusion. There wasn't enough room for all members of the Chinese delegation in Trump's residence in Florida. There was more confusion. Trump announced the strike to the Chinese leader over dinner. For the entree, he served flounder, steak and cruise missiles.
The self-assured American president was probably proud of how crafty he was on the eve of difficult negotiations. And that included North Korea, also on the USA's menu. It just wasn't the main course. Playing give-away with those who hate him, and trying to outwit or simply frighten everybody all at once, Trump is on a slippery slope. He will never become 'one of us' among those who voted for Clinton. But he might become a stranger among friends. A tomahawk, recklessly thrown windward can turn into a boomerang.