Saturday, April 8, 2017

Selected quotes from Peter Bergen's article on Trump's 59 missiles into Syria

begin partial and selected questions by Bergen quotes:

Trump's attack on Syria -- a decisive action, a good speech,but...

1. Were the cruise missile strikes only a warning shot for the Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad, or will they be part of larger campaign against him?  

2. The war in Syria has displaced 14 million Syrians and half a million have been killed since Assad unleashed a brutal war on his own population six years ago. Does the Trump administration have a larger plan to protect Syrian civilians going forward?  

3. The Russia connection: Assad owes his continuation in power to the intervention of Russia in 2015 to prop up his regime. Given Trump's warm feelings toward Russian President Vladimir Putin and against the backdrop of investigations into relationships between Trump campaign officials and the Russians, do the cruise missile strikes on Thursday mark a clear repudiation by the Trump administration of Putin? And how will the Russian leader react?
4. How does it end: Machiavelli wisely noted, "Wars begin when you will but they don't end when you please." Already Trump officials are saying that the cruise missile strikes are only a limited response to the sarin gas attack and they are not part of some larger campaign against Assad, but these are exactly the same kinds of statements we have often heard when the United States first gets involved in a conflict overseas. 
5. What is the legal basis for the attack? The Trump administration launched the cruise missile strikes in Syria, an act of war, without a UN resolution or Congressional authorization. Will the Trump administration attempt to get some buy-in from the US Congress for any further military action in Syria? After all, it is Congress that is supposed to authorize US military actions, not the Commander in Chief who is tasked with carrying them out.



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