President Trump’s order to attack a major Syrian air base was a dramatic turnaround from a few days earlier. At that time, Defense Chief Rex Tillerson had stated that the removal of Syrian dictator Assad was not a priority for the country.
And then, the attack came. I would guess that watching the video of babies suffocating and dying from poison gas, along with scores of other people, was enough to stun President Trump to take action. At this point, there are several questions: Will the attack speedup the process to get Assad out? How will the Russians react? And what about the rest of the world, most of the nations that turned a blind eye to this genocide?
The apparent destruction of the airbase was a limited use of vast American power, and frugally, the President did not send any Americans in harm’s way. But it was an encouraging sign that Trump was not afraid to admit that the earlier assessment of writing off Syria was wrong. All of us hope the action will save lives.
At the time of the missile barrage, a poll from Quinnipiac University, described by its author as proof of a “downward spiral” in the President’s approval ratings.
It will be interested to see if Americans rally around the decision, or treat it with skepticism. I think they’ll rally as they always have in the initial stages of military engagement.