This past Tuesday, a deadly chemical weapons attack was launched on the Syrian people.
The attack, which occurred in a region in northwestern Syria, has killed at least 70 people and injured hundreds more. The death and injury counts are still growing.
The United States was quick to blame the Syrian government for this all too familiar atrocity. It also accused Syrian allies, Russia and Iran, of taking part in the attack.
The U.S. government immediately called for Russia to condemn the attack and told Russia to restrain Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad from carrying out any further chemical attacks.
Over the past several years, U.S. policy in Syria has shifted, initially focusing on deposing leader Assad to eventually a more singular focus on combatting ISIS.
The attack is raising serious questions about President Donald Trump’s policy in the Middle East, and whether or not his administration will effect a policy change in regards to the crisis in Syria.
In a recent press conference, United States Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, stated that, “ the priority is no longer to sit [in Syria] and focus on getting Assad out.” Ambassador Haley added that while Assad is a “war criminal”, the United States might need to work with him in the fight against ISIS.
Sean Spicer, the White House spokesperson, echoed the statements of Ambassador Haley, stating that “The United States has profound priorities in Syria and Iraq and we’ve made it clear that counterterrorism, particularly the defeat of ISIS, is foremost among those priorities.”
Naturally, Spicer and Haley’s comments spurred some controversy, with some Congressional members being “deeply disturbed.”
Among those disturbed was Arizona Senator John McCain, who felt that the main goal of deposing Assad was being pushed aside in favor of new goals with no real strategy. McCain added that the Syrian people could not fight the power of Assad if they are too busy being slaughtered by [Assad].
Once gain, President Trump was quick to point the finger at the Obama administration (shocker), asserting that the chemical attacks and the oppressive Assad regime were the result of the past administration’s “weakness.”
While it is easy to blame Barack Obama for the crisis in Syria, it is completely heinous for Trump to blame the disgusting actions of the Assad regime on the previous administration. It cannot be disputed that Assad is a war criminal who has absolutely no regard for human rights or international laws.
President Trump needs to stop blaming other people and start working to solve the problem in Syria. He accuses Obama of being weak, yet Trump hasn’t done anything to combat problems in Syria. Is he going to draw a red line? Is he going to condone Assad’s unconscionable attack because Assad is helping to fight ISIS? Blaming previous administrations does nothing to advance U.S. interests and policies in Syria. President Trump needs to stop the rhetoric of blame as though he is still in campaign mode and must focus on crafting a real strategy to deal with Assad if there is going to be any progress in the region.