Thursday, 06 April 2017 09:34

Trump's double-talk over Syria, Russia is cheap, now what?

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assadVideos of dead little Syrian children being loaded into a van after a chemical attack by the forces of Bashar al-Assad killed them are heart-wrenching. It’s like seeing Sandy Hook all over, again. Since September 30, 2015, the Assad government has been supported in its war against rebels opposed to its repression by Russian military intervention. Syrian forces, historically, have shown little regard for their nation’s people, a sentiment shared by Russia, and attacks on its population have included the destruction of hospitals, schools, and food markets. Rescue and relief workers are high priority targets.

The problem for the Trump administration is the President’s expressed predilection for all things Russian. It’ll be hard for the United States to take action against a state supported by a country whose leader, Vladimir Putin, has been praised, repeatedly, by Mr. Trump. The vast network the President’s own people have cultivated with Russian types amplifies this difficulty.

What to do? The answer is simple if you’re Donald Trump. You blame President Obama and his administration. The attack with a deadly gas that killed approximately 100 people, many of them children, only took place, we’re told because Obama didn’t confront Assad with much more than words after the previous gas attack. We’ll find out, soon, how far the red line beyond which our toleration won’t extend is going to be pushed back if Trump does nothing more than talk, too. It’s a significant test of his international leadership and it’ll be watched closely by an aggressive North Korea and the rest of the world.

The President said that he’s reversing his once tolerant position on Assad but Trump’s talk is cheap and, often, he doesn’t mean what he says, or double-talks to confuse people about his real convictions if he has any. In 2013, a tweet storm flew out of Trump tower advising President Obama to stay out of Syria just as Russia was getting in. This President’s intentions about protecting human rights, however, can’t be predicated on anything his predecessor did or didn’t. Trump, to his credit, said that he’s responsible for Syria, now, and that’s truer, perhaps, than he imagines.

There is the further complication in Syria that elements of ISIS are, also, opportunistically, opposed to Assad. Trump has said that he wants Russia’s help in defeating this murderous sect but if that help is predicated on toleration of the deliberate killing of children we need a new ally. This isn’t a political calculus. it’s a moral one. There is no circumstance that justifies America accepting one inherent evil over another that’s equally bad. Our beliefs obligate us to oppose them, equally, even if that means taking in more refugees from the killing fields of the Middle East.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley spoke, forcefully, to the General Assembly about Russia’s role in the horror that’s become Syria. Trump, nearly as forcefully, condemned the slaughter of innocents but never mentioned Russia which has expressed its intention to block any U.N. resolution condemning Assad’s latest killing spree. Both Assad and Putin, not surprisingly, have assailed coverage of the attack as “fake news” proving just how much being a denier is in vogue.




Last modified on Thursday, 06 April 2017 10:13
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