The President and his Tomahawk Missiles

While I was snoring in a Tallinn hotel, the US was unleashing over 50 (I heard one source say that it was closer to 70) tomahawk missiles against an air base near Homs in Syria.  A quick reality check, here is where Homs is located

Image result for Homs Syria ,map

The targeted airbase was apparently the one that serviced the planes that just delivered the alleged chemical weapons attack against Syrians, including children.  The attack did not destroy the runways but focused instead on planes and buildings.

Before we think bout the tomahawks, we might ask why did Assad launch this chemical attack? Why now?  You might have noticed that he is not launching these kinds of attacks every day., Rachel Maddow offered one possible explanation. After Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that it was up to the Syrian people to decide who leads Syria, Assad might have been testing whether the US now has a “hands off” policy towards his regime.

If this is true, the answer is obviously “no”. The US is not about to do a “regime change”, especially when the Russians are backing Assad. At the same time, the president has signaled that there are limits to what the US will tolerate …. errr for US political reasons.  No more chemical weapons attacks! Clear?

So, Trump scores some political points for being “decisive” and “tough”. — amnongUS voters. Will this have any effect inside Syria?`I am reminded of an event that took place many years ago. You might recall that Presiden Bill Clinton — in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky scandal —  launched a considerable cruise missile attack against taliban training camps in Afghanistan. It sounded pretty good at the time. But looking back, it had zero impact.

One attack does not end a war. It does not change the reasons why folks are killing each other. The question remains what can be done to achieve that end in Syria so that rebuilding can being.

We might recall, that the last best effort to achieve this was the cease-fire negotiated between then USSectrary of State Kerry and his Russian counterpart. The Russians torpedoed that very quickly.  They thought then, and still think today, that is is in their interests to let Assad fight his war.


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