President Trump’s decision to bomb a Syrian military compound in response to the chemical attack launched by the Assad regime has prompted a myriad of mixed feelings. One of the most significant consequences of such an action is the increased tension it places on already strained US-Russia relations. Putin has condemned the attack and was quoted saying it was a “significant blow” to the relationship, while Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev said it had “completely ruined” any relationship that existed. The Trump administration is not viewing this as an act of war, but rather a very measured step in applying pressure to stop the regime from killing innocent civilians. They reaffirmed that no more strikes were imminent, unless the regime were to again use chemical weapons on its people.
There was significant backlash from the public and many in Washington over President Obamas decision to forego an attack on Syria after crossing his “red line” when they used chemical weapons shortly after making that statement. Was Obama warranted in retracting that belief in order to keep American soldiers safe and out of harms way? Some are saying that Trump has finally enforced Obamas “red line,” so was Trump correct in retaliating?
I think that the consequences of such an action will have a ripple effect that we may not be able to clearly see yet. What was a “reminder” by the Trump administration that it will not stand for violations against human rights may end up in a US-Russia proxy war in the middle east. I seriously doubt that the Russians will sit back and accept such an aggressive response by the Trump administration, less than 100 days into his presidency. If he is willing to take such drastic measures already, what will stop him from continuing this behavior over the next 4 years?
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