One monitor glows with nighttime video of a lightweight streaking throughout the Damascus sky; others present analysts and reporters, reside from Syria, Russia, Washington, London. There’s video of President Donald Trump on Friday night, saying that the US and its closest allies determined to strike in response to the suspected chemical weapons assault final week in Douma, close to Damascus, which Washington and its allies are satisfied Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered. “These usually are not the actions of a person; they’re crimes of a monster as a substitute,” Trump stated gravely. However no one within the airport is watching.
Syria information is all over the place, besides on individuals’s minds. The passengers, sitting within the crowded lounge’s broad brown chairs, are checking their e-mail, streaming films on their laptops, gazing absentmindedly on the airplanes on the tarmac. Not one amongst them seems excited about Syria. It appears nobody thinks this nighttime assault signifies a lot in a battle that has been raging for seven years. Maybe they do not suppose this battle issues.
It is simply one other second in a battle that has, in actual fact, modified the world, however has accomplished so not directly. Along with destroying Syria, displacing thousands and thousands and killing a whole lot of 1000’s, the Syrian battle has reworked a lot of the planet extra profoundly and in additional methods than most individuals notice. The very fact is the battle in Syria has affected lives all over the world — not solely within the Middle East but additionally in the US and right here within the Netherlands, as in remainder of Europe.
The West’s largely hands-off method created a vacuum that Russia eagerly stuffed, including to Iran’s energy and alarming Tehran’s Arab foes, stoking regional rivalries, and wars.
Within the West, the pictures of fleeing Syrian refugees helped empower nationalist politicians from Hungary to the US, propelling a world pattern towards authoritarianism. The a number of conflicts — diplomatic, political, navy — have contributed to a rising turmoil in world politics, at the same time as the wrong impression that Syria would not matter prevails. Even in Europe, that sentiment appears highly effective sufficient to have to this point smothered the instinctive response of fashionable fury that appears to spring to life at any time when the US flexes its navy muscle.
It is totally different this time, after all. This isn’t George W. Bush going into Iraq. It isn’t even Barack Obama studiously pondering the professionals and cons of motion. That is Donald Trump, a person some right here now say is so disconcerting and disturbing, they’ve began attempting to disregard his rants.
This time, for a change, he regarded critical, considerate and calm when saying navy motion in Syria in his televised tackle. It was in sharp distinction along with his Twitter rants of the earlier days, even the earlier hours, when he unleashed a stream of invective, wielding keyboard weaponry, exclamation factors, all-caps, multi-tweet assaults, to lash out against James Comey,
Assad, Russia and others. It was a gruesome spectacle, and further evidence of the damage his chaotic presidency is doing to America and the world on multiple levels.
By the time the attack finally came, the chaos in the White House and Trump’s legal and political problems made it inevitable to think about the phenomenon once known as the “Wag the Dog” effect, using military action to distract and build popular support by stoking patriotic sentiment for personal political benefit.
In this case, Trump’s use of force a year ago after Assad used chemical weapons lends some credibility to the latest action, suggesting it is motivated by the US leader’s visceral response to the images of the Douma attack, and his determination to define himself as the opposite of Obama. And Obama’s greatest failing was not enforcing his own “red line” against Assad’s use of chemical weapons. In reality, Trump’s action looks in many ways Obamian: measured, splitting the middle, and despite the bravado, hesitant.
Trump’s latest strikes are not about Syria. They do nothing to change the equation in that malignant conflict. They are an effort to put the genie of chemical weapons back in the bottle. That in itself is a worthy goal, and one wishes Obama had acted on when he had the opportunity.
But Trump’s Syrian policy remains a muddle. Barely two weeks ago he announced he wants the small but important US contingent out.
A number of days later he was threatening to assault, after which he did.
After all of the tweets, all of the bombs, all of the speeches, nobody is bound what precisely he has in thoughts. Within the meantime, the Syrian battle stays as radioactive as ever. It could nicely spawn a battle between Iran and Israel. It’s including to tensions between Moscow and Washington and between Riyadh and Tehran.
The newest bombing could change nothing. It did not appear to alter the general public’s apathy. However it should proceed to reverberate in our lives, not directly, however not subtly.