Trump's Syria Strike Won't Solve Any Problems But Could Make Everything Worse

The real question is what happens next.

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"It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the use of deadly chemical weapons," said President Donald Trump in explaining a U.S.-missile strike on a Syrian airbase. That might sound good and even noble in theory, explains Emma Ashford of the Cato Institute, but the plain truth is that he's wrong. What's worse, it's far from clear what either the United States or other countries in the region will do next.

The essential lesson that George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump keep forgetting is that military interventions, especially in other countries' civil wars, often makes things worse, Ashford tells Nick Gillespie.

Produced by Austin Bragg. Cameras by Todd Krainin and Mark McDaniel.

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  1. What's worse, it's far from clear what either the United States or other countries in the region will do next.

    If they got involved that could be a positive outcome.

    I'm looking at the map and bordering Syria we have Turkey, Jordan (always so quiet on issues that affect Arab Street that Jordan!) Israel and Iraq.

    Now, I'll give Iraq a pass because they've got enough problems in their own back yard.

    So, very close to Syria we have Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Cyprus. I'm not super-knowledgeable about Cyprus, but hey, what better time to introduce yourself to geopolitical neophytes like me than to stand up and say something when something bad is going on just across the lake!

    It's going to be my long-shot... hot-take guess that the other countries in the region won't do jack or shit about our Strike in Syria because not doing jack or shit has been the MO for a really long-ish time now.

    Now, before anyone thinks I'm cheering Donald Trump's intervention, I'm not. Because the reality is his intervention will probably enable those other countries to continue to not do jack or shit.

    At work I'm the networking guy, and I keep fixing the system admin's VM ware problems. I got kind of hot about it last week. But I'm making the same mistake. If I stop fixing his shit, it might cause him to start digging into his shit when it stops working.

    1. Oh, how could I forget, Lebanon! Lebanon could throw in a few bucks in the till, amirite?

      1. There is a term that summarizes your post: Moral Hazard.

      2. There is a term that summarizes your post: Moral Hazard.

      3. Dude, you don't know what you're talking about. Iraqi Shia militias are fighting in Syria for Assad. Lebanon is fighting for Assad. Israel is involved against Assad in a limited way. Turkey is super invovled fighting there for the rebels. Jordan trains and arms the rebels and takes in refugees.

  2. When all you have is violence.

    1. Everything looks like the Middle East.

  3. What will happen if Assad gets Qadaffi'd?

    1. There will be a GIANT power vacuum left!

      After that, we can...

      'A) Put 100,000 or more (pairs of) boots on the ground (and spend $$$bazzillions), in Syria, to create and hold the peace for years or decades, to "do it right", or...

      'B) We can declare a supposedly-cheap victory, leave a few token troops, and leave a BIG fat festering mess, which will immediately blow up!

      Place yer bets, ladies and germs...

      1. Wait, it seems like I've heard this song before.

        1. And it goes on and on my friends...
          This is the song that never ends...

    2. Turkey will control parts of the North. The Kurds will control other parts of the North. Lebanon and Iran will control the west. Sunnis would get the East. Killing Assad is what should happen tomorrow. Divide Syria up. The Shia get the east. The Russians get there naval base. The Sunni parts of the North and the east. The Kurds get shit too. Assad needs to die.

  4. Only libertarians get to make this critique. You know anyone else blasting trump for this would be lauding hillary or obama for their 'humanitarian intervention'.

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  8. It's not clear if Trump thinks this is a humanitarian intervention or whether he thinks it's a security intervention.

    Trump:

    It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the use of deadly chemical weapons,

    What part of this do you find unclear?

    1. I'm taking a dump right now so I won't bother to confirm this but I believe the US hasn't signed off on the chemical weapons arms control treaty so its bit hypocritical to pretend death by gas is fundamentally different than death by bomb when your military employs chemical weapons for use in case of national emergency.

      I also remember that the British planned to gas the Germans during WW2 in the event of a land invasion and if one accepts the premise that these rebels are fascist terrorists scum and the "good people" of Syria are fighting these fascists for their very existence then perhaps the situation is not so different than 1940s Great Britain.

      Of I don't think it's as black and white in Syria as it was in WW2.
      Fuck Assad he's a tryant but the people he represents are probably cooler than many of those rebels.

  9. This is all so fucked up and confused. If you're like Trump and you feel the heat on this gas attack then how do you not smell the piece of shit politician tyrant family that set in motion this war and the insane slaughter of 400,000 prople just to keep its disgusting grip on tyrannical power? Hitting an airfield to protest a gas attack kinda rings hollow when you regularly give tyrants passes when they do much worse. I guess it comes back to the unintended consequences of giving Assad and his posse the justice they so richly deserve.

  10. Trump is such a hypocrite. He criticized Obama for contemplating the same thing. While Obama should have kept his mouth shut about a red line and set himself up for the subsequent criticism from not just the dumbass neocons, but the even regular foreign policy observers, I was fine with his "dont do stupid shit" philosophy with foreign policy(I wish he was a little bit more of a leader on domestic policy).

    Having said that, I will confess. A little part of me doesn't mind and takes some secret enjoyment in seeing a reckless Trump fire a few missiles here and there. Sure, i guess we all pay for the missiles which still cost anymore than what his family's final security bill will incur. And a small part of me won't mind seeing the US bomb the shit out of N Korea and land a big one on Fat Lil Kim Jr. and we can use Trump's mentality as cover for that and we can get some positive out of Trump's personality for doing some global good.

    But as far as Syria, it did occur to me, that regardless of the facts that Assad is a questionable dude, and the power junta he inherited from his bad father is much worse than he is, and they undoubtedly have indulged in terrible conduct in the past, I have my suspicions about this latest chemical attack, if part of it is set up by rebels to turn the heat on Assad. And did we get suckered by them?
    Read this from Peter Hitchens:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/deb.....Qaeda.html

  11. RE: Trump's Syria Strike Won't Solve Any Problems But Could Make Everything Worse
    The real question is what happens next.

    What will happen next?
    More refugees.
    More dead Syrians.
    More American tax dollars down the toilet.
    Should I go on?

    1. It'll do more than all that. It'll really inflame the Arab world and possibly set the whole Middle East on fire.

    2. It'll make an already dangerous, unstable and volatile situation in the Middle East a whole lot worse. Sure, the United States has been acting like the top cop of the world for more than a half century, but that doesn't mean that Donald Trump should be continuing it.

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