“If Iran is the threat that many in the Trump Administration believe it to be, and if American military power is no longer as effective in the region as everyone previously thought, then why not step back, reserve the right to attack any foe that may arise in Syria at a later date, and seek to make nice with the weaker members of this new Russo-Iranian-Turkish alliance?”
“If Trump does what Bolton and the others are warning, then America will look weak and it will become mired in another Iraq War. What’s more, threatening a world war with nuclear-armed Russia over humanitarian interests is a foolish endeavor of the sort usually reserved for navel-gazing academics, like former UN ambassador Samantha Powers, not a freewheeling businessman, like Donald Trump. “
“This is the endless treadmill that the civilised world is on: Libyans (and others like them) disturb the peace of the world. In turn, the West tries to kill those who would impose their will on others (because the others include us).
It is a recurrent police action and no more than that is needed; it is pointless to stay around to do some nation-building – the mistake of Afghanistan.”
“The idea that the United States would not retaliate against Assad is disturbing, because it sends a signal to the Israelis and our Sunni Arab partners that we really don’t have a backbone when dealing with Iran (which is what this is really all about). It will force them to take a hard look at whether they will stick their proverbial necks out for us in fighting to maintain a regional order that favors American preferences over those of the Russians and Chinese. We can–and should–draw down most of our 2,200 men in Syria. But, we should also strike back at Assad’s forces for conducting the chemical weapons attack. We cannot encourage, or appear to be encouraging, the use of WMD in such an unstable world. It sets a bad precedent and sends mixed signals to our allies, and also signals to North Korea that we really aren’t serious about upholding non-proliferation policies.”
“American war planners in the Trump Administration must, therefore, opt to hit Assad’s air force, but to leave him enough capabilities that he has a reasonable chance at stemming the jihadist surge that will inevitably come from the American air campaign. Trump must also use the 2,200 American troops in Syria as a bargaining chip to get Russia and Turkey to pull both Iran and Assad himself back from the hostilities, and help to create a negotiated settlement that not only ended the conflict, but helped to establish a more stable political environment in Syria.”
“No, it is not in America’s interest to simply ignore Assad’s repeated chemical weapons use, or to empower his regime — at the expense of our regional allies. That would actually force America to expand its role in the Mideast at precisely the time it needs to reduce its physical presence there. Thus, a retaliatory — proportional — strike against Assad for his chemical weapons attack would be a justified use of American force (and would actually solidify America’s position in the region, without expanding our role there).”
“The president should strike back against Bashar al-Assad for having committed this brazen act of genocide. But, he should also go to Putin and Erdogan—cutting out the Iranians completely—and offer to reduce American presence in Syria in exchange for them forcing Assad (and Iran) to end the civil war peacefully.”