One Missile Strike Does Not a Syria Strategy Make

By Jonathan Riley, 3/6/2017

I am not going to rush to oppose this latest US missile strike on a Syrian airbase just because Donald Trump is President. There had to be a response to Bashar al-Assad's horrendous chemical weapon attack on his own civilians, and this strike seems like literally the least we could do to punish Assad besides nothing. Frankly, I am relieved the Administration is taking this seriously at all and not claiming the sarin gas attack was "fake news" (that's what Russia and many alt-right conservatives in the US are saying.)

For now, I support this missile strike. This will not bring the war in Syria to a close. This will not turn the tide against Assad. But if this action helps deter further use of chemical weapons in Syria it will have been worth it.

Nevertheless, many questions still remain:

1) Will the Trump Administration stop appeasing Putin who supports Assad and allowed this war crime in the first place?

2) I'm glad images of children dying of sarin gas poisoning moved Trump to act, but will it move him to throw out his cruel refugee ban and grant those children asylum?

3) Is this missile strike part of any kind of a larger strategy in Syria? Or was that it?

We have seen that Trump’s idea of an economic plan is to take credit for a single factory remaining in the United States. Is his idea of a grand strategy in Syria a single missile strike? This military action is easy to understand and simple enough to explain in 140 characters. But today the task of the President of the United States of America is not to win one news cycle, but to stop a genocide. History will judge Trump’s response to the humanitarian disaster in Syria not by what he did today, but by what he does next.