Well. I've been away all morning/afternoon at a meeting with other youth services librarians. But I was able to peek at my news feeds intermittently (technology is grand) and read with piqued interest at Donald Trump's transformation from America First to Bomb the Fuckers.
It's coming out of the WH and Defense Department that "regime change" is the watchword on the tragedy in Syria after dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a gas attack this week which killed scores of civilians and injured hundreds. Of course, this brutal act came after our useless Secretary of State, Rex "Nappy Time" Tillerson, said last week that al-Assad's fate would be "up to the Syrian people"... which is the line taken by al-Assad and his backers in Moscow and Tehran. This was a green light for the Devil of Damascus to unleash hell on his population and see what kind of reaction the West, "led" by the United States, would have.
Well, it probably wasn't the reaction he was expecting. Trump has suddenly veered from staying out of foreign quagmires to pounding the podium and demanding that "something be done". What that means, we don't know. Will he send in a Marine Expeditionary Force and roll into Damascus? Will he bomb Syrian airfields? (Airfields, mind you, filled with Russians and Iranians.) Will he tire of it after a couple of days and go back to bragging about his inaugural crowds? No one knows.
What we do know is what he said the last time we were on the brink of taking action against al-Assad.
A very different tune back then, when President Obama faced similar circumstances.
I could be charitable and say that now that he's in charge, al-Assad's latest atrocity pricked the conscience. But let's be honest: He has no conscience. Nothing in his history indicates that dead babies would have any effect on him.
His poll numbers are in the toilet. He's viewed generally as a laughing stock. And there's that whole "colluding with a foreign power" thing hanging around his neck. A nice bracing war is just what the political doctor calls for in these cases.
However, if anyone thinks that Trump can conduct any type of military adventure competently, there's a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. The regime says it's going to lead a "coalition" against al-Assad. What government in its right mind would send its forces to work with a military under the command of a dimwit like Trump? He's angered most of our close allies with his tirades and tweets. George W. Bush, at least, was able to build upon the "special relationship" with the United Kingdom. Trump has accused its intelligence services of spying on him and leaking information.
And of course, the question which goes begging: What about Russia. Vladimir Putin is very much on al-Assad's side. Don't fall for the noises the Kremlin is now making that support of its dictator is "not unconditional". A Russian populace which has been primed for the past year and a half to view Russia's adventure in Syria as a declaration that it is again a great power will be confused, to say the least, if they suddenly change sides. And if rebels take charge, they will not be in a mood to guarantee Russia's only Mediterranean naval base. Remember those airfields? What will happen if US fighter jets bomb them and kill Russian advisors? Exactly.
The most revolting thing about this exercise is that the babies for whom Trump now cries were the same babies he called "snakes" and barred from entering the US as refugees. Dead babies are convenient for him: he can act to avenge them, and they still won't come onto our shores. He is, quite simply, an evil man.
There are no good solutions in Syria, only less bad ones. For my part, a truly global/regional coalition to oust al-Assad, despite the risks geopolitically, would be the way to go. And normally, the United States would be that coalition's leader. But the US can't be its leader, for the simple fact that at the moment the United States has no leader. Trump can't go from praising al-Assad 4 years ago to now calling him a murderous thug and not have people remember. He has, as usual, no credibility. And, as usual, it's other people who suffer for his sins.