The use of chemical and biological weapons in Syria in recent days is outrageous no matter who pulls the trigger. It should be universally condemned. But the Trump ordered airstrikes on Syrian targets, even if the Asad government was the perpetrator (still to be proved, although not out of the realm of the possible by any means) are no answer.
It may seem counter intuitive to many, but only a turn to restraint, diplomacy, compromise, and cooperation in the Syrian conflict and the Middle East in general stands any chance of bringing some semblance of peace and measure of stability to the Syrian people. For such an approach to succeed, Russia has to be a full and equal participant. The Asad government has to be at the table too – not to mention other representatives of Syrian society. The UN has to coordinate and lead the process. Iran, Turkey and other governments in that region also have to part of the process The international community must ramp up pressure as well on Saudi Arabia to end its funding of extremist groups and the Netanyahu government has to be kept at bay.
Immediate action to assist and bring relief to the millions of refugees, fleeing war zones, is imperative. Some will relocate in Syria, while others will seek refuge here and elsewhere around the world. And they should be welcomed, not turned into dangerous pariahs and likely terrorists.
In the longer term, a 21st century “New Deal,” to rebuild the Middle East should become an order of business for the world community, and especially the U.S. and European Community.
Trump and his team will resist such an approach. They thrive in an environment of fear, hatred, suspicion, and threats. It conceals their political agenda and becomes a rationale to build up U.S. military capacity. To make matters worse, the White House could see a vigorous military response to the Syrian crisis as a unique opportunity to stop the precipitous slide in Trump’s popularity.
What adds to the problem is that much of the foreign policy establishment is yet ready to execute a u-turn in its approach to Syria and the Middle East.
Obviously, public pressure and intervention is necessary in these circumstances. We can begin by contacting our representatives in Washington.