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Trump Seeking Arab Force to Stabilize Syria

This is exactly the kind of thing President Trump ran on and is a perfect rebuttal to those who charge he possesses no ideology and, with respect to Syria, no plan.

Trump wants not to withdraw America completely from the world, as the caricatures in the press would have it, but to back off and let local allies do the dirty work and put some skin in the game. That’s what’s going on with this Syria proposal. It’s what Trump was doing by threatening NATO countries that they’d better pony up their fair share.

The principle is simple. American troops should not be putting their lives at stake in God-forsaken places unless there is a compelling national interest. And American taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill.

We can’t solve the world’s problems. But local countries do have a compelling national interest in places like Syria, and they’d better step up.

What’s more, we need to stop breaking other countries, even if we don’t like how they are run. It generally makes things worse. We’ve crapped in exotics locales all over the world and left the locals to clean up after us too often.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Trump administration is seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the U.S. military contingent in Syria and help stabilize the northeastern part of the country after the defeat of Islamic State, U.S. officials said.

John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, recently called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if Cairo would contribute to the effort, officials said.

The initiative comes as the administration has asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars to help restore northern Syria. It wants Arab nations to send troops as well, officials said.

Details about the initiative, which haven’t been previously disclosed, have emerged in the days since the U.S.-led strikes on sites associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical-weapons capabilities.

Mr. Trump, who has expressed growing impatience with the cost and duration of the effort to stabilize Syria, alluded to the push on Friday night, when he announced the missile strikes.

“We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing larger amounts of money,” Mr. Trump said.

Mattis Talked Trump Out of More “Robust” Response to Assad

Like bombing Assad directly on his head, I guess.

Why is this guy called “mad dog”? He seems very restrained.

Anyway, I think Secretary of Defense Mattis’s advice was sound. Our goal is to prevent Syrian President Assad from using chemical weapons, not to defeat him. If Barack Obama had made up his “brilliant” mind seven years ago to either decisively defeat Assad or let him win, there would have been hundreds of thousands fewer deaths in Syria.

Instead, Obama polished his Nobel Peace Prize while untold numbers of people died.

Now, we have to back off except to eliminate remaining ISIS fighters and enforce the principle that bad people are not allowed to use chemical weapons, since they may eventually be turned on us.

From the Wall Street Journal:

President Donald Trump deferred to his Pentagon chief’s caution and tempered his preference for a more robust attack on Syria over allegations it used deadly gas on civilians.

After days of tense White House meetings, the president and his advisers agreed on one of the most restrained of the military-strike options crafted by the Pentagon.

Faced with a push from the president for a muscular response to the alleged chemical-weapons attack that killed at least 43 people, Mr. Mattis presented the White House with three military options, according to the people familiar with the decision-making.

The most conservative option would have hit a narrow set of targets related to Syria’s chemical-weapons capabilities.

The second option proposed strikes on a broader set of Syrian regime targets, including suspected chemical-weapons research facilities and military command centers.

The most expansive proposal, which might have included strikes on Russian air defenses in Syria, was designed to cripple the regime’s military capabilities without touching Mr. Assad’s political machinery.

The most ambitious of the proposals was three times the size of the one eventually carried out by U.S., British and French forces.

Mr. Trump approved a hybrid plan that saw more than 100 advanced missiles fired at the three Syrian targets early Saturday. That action reflected a melding the first two options: modest missile strikes, but ones the Trump administration said delivered a decisive blow to Mr. Assad’s chemical-weapons capabilities.

Trump Slows Down the Missiles Headed for Assad

President Trump, who Wednesday seemed to indicate an attack on Syria was imminent, now has decided, not so fast.

That’s good. We might want to make sure the Syrian government did this and plan it carefully so that the bombs meant for Assad’s head don’t drop on too many Russians and start a world war. Just saying.

Wait Until The Facts Are In Before We Bomb Syria

Are we sure we know what happened in Syria?

I have seen no specific evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad ordered the attack. With his forces gaining the upper hand in the area where the attack occurred, he does not seem to have had the incentive to provoke the United States. His opponents, who are on the run, have plenty of reason to get us involved.

Nevertheless, President Trump and the usual war chorus in Washington  – i.e. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., – seem intent on lobbing bombs right away. Trump tweeted this morning:

The whole Mueller investigation, which was based on nothing in particular, is adversely affecting our foreign policy by pushing Trump to show he is no friend of the Russians. He needs to chill and make sure he is not about to make his situation much worse by provoking an international crisis.

We think we can just bomb people and leave, crap and get off the toilet. But once we start “kinetic” activities, it is never clear where it will lead or how it will escalate.

What if we kill a lot of Russians? Will this then escalate?

I support hitting Syria if we know that the government did this. I think the principle of preventing the use of chemical weapons is an important one and is something we have already pledged to enforce. But I think this country already has had some bad experience with launching military action on mistaken assumptions.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has been a strong and fairly lonely voice urging caution before throwing missiles around.

Trump: “Big Price” to Pay for Syrian Chemical Attack

In a series of tweets Sunday morning, President Trump said there would be a “big price” to pay for the latest chemical attack on Syrian civilians, which killed dozens and which the president is pinning on Syria, Russia and Iran. And he correctly blamed Barack Obama for the situation.

Obama, who equivocated for years on what to do about the Syrian war, said the use of chemical weapons in the theater was a “red line” that he suggested would spur him to military action. Instead, he pussied out and invited the Russians in to “remove” Syria’s weapons, which was like inviting the fox in to straighten up the chicken coop. This resulted in Syria not only getting to keep its weapons, but the reentrance of Russia into the Middle East and a sense in Syria that the United States was not serious.

Trump is frustrated that he has to clean up Obama’s various messes. Who can blame him? But unfortunately, that’s part of what he was elected to do.

United States Bombs Assad-Backed Militia in Syria

The United States has bombed Shiite militia forces allied with Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to the Washington Examiner.

Please, tell me what the plan is here. Are we going to get into this thing? What happened to campaign promises to stay out of other people’s messes? And I gotta ask, could this be a diversion from domestic troubles for the president?

Sure hope not.

We’re not going to save Syria by replacing one group of animals with another. We’ve tried that, doesn’t work unless we get fully involved and stay there. Which we should not be doing. Do you want your child to die in Aleppo?

Big mistake.

Obama: My Epic Syria Wimp-Out Was Actually Sublime Courage

I had always thought Barack Obama lacked much of a sense of humor. But now he’s proven me wrong. Because in trying to convert his most egregious moment of pusillanimity into some kind of act of courage, he’s demonstrated himself to be a comedian of the first order.

Obama made the claim in a “conversation” with Jack Schlossberg published in Medium. Schlossberg, who is Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg’s son and therefore John F. Kennedy’s grandson, spoke with Obama as the former president accepted the Kennedys’ “Profile in Courage” award.

Schlossberg asks: “You’re receiving an award for your political courage, which you demonstrated in many different ways. I was wondering which issues you thought during your presidency demanded of you the most courage?”

One of only three Obama mentions is his decision not to enforce his “red line” against Syrian use of chemical weapons and invite the Russians back into Middle East to try to “help.” The episode is obviously disturbing his exalted sense of himself and his presidency, since he absurdly tries to turn it into a moment of glory:

I actually think that the issue that required the most political courage was the decision not to bomb Syria after the chemical weapons use had been publicized and rather to negotiate them removing chemical weapons from Syria.

Now, we know subsequently that some remained, so it was an imperfect solution. But what we also know is that 99 percent of huge chemical weapons stockpiled were removed without us having to fire a shot.
The reason it was hard was because, as president, what you discover is that you generally get praised for taking military action, and you’re often criticized for not doing so.

And it wasn’t a slam dunk, but I thought that it made sense for a variety of reasons for us to see if we could actually try to eliminate the prospect of large-scale chemical weapons use rather than the political expedience of a one-time shot.

Right, it wasn’t a slam dunk. The one percent that was left is apparently fully operational, as Syrian President Bashar Assad recently demonstrated. President Trump then took about 45 minutes to act to enforce Obama’s red line, with the result so far that Assad’s chemical weapons have gone back into their canisters.

Trump: “I Legitimized President Obama’s Red Line”

Yes, he did. While Barack Obama agonized like a small, sensitive child over what he should do once Syria in 2013 had crossed his “red line” and used chemical weapons, President Trump thought for what seemed like three minutes about enforcing the principle that nobody uses WMD and then sent a barrage of missiles Syria’s… Continue Reading

Ivanka Suggests Possibility of Accepting Syrian Refugees

Ivanka Trump Wednesday said allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. “has to be part of the discussion” of how best to solve the humanitarian crisis plaguing the Arab world. This would, um, appear to put her in conflict with President Trump, who has signed executive orders seeking to ban Syrian refugees from the United States as… Continue Reading

Obama State Dept. Spokeswoman: Syria Attack Just “Fancy Fireworks”

I think the Obama administration — which watched several hundred thousand people die in Syria while it couldn’t make up its mind what to do, invited Russia into the Middle East, allowed its “red line” to be crossed, and didn’t even get Russia to remove the chemical weapons from Assad’s possession — needs to keep… Continue Reading