Friday, April 13, 2018

Sadly True

I can't argue with this:

The former director of the CIA and Defense Department in the Obama administration said the "fundamental problem" in dealing with Bashar al-Assad and President Trump's talk of withdrawal "is that the United States has really never had a strategy with regards to Syria."

Panetta is right.

Initially, assuming Assad doomed, President Obama's strategy was to not do anything decisive about Syria's revolt and then civil war while avoiding looking like we were doing nothing while people died in massive numbers.

The rise of ISIL in Syria and Iraq allowed Obama to seem like he had a Syria strategy while we in fact had an ISIL strategy. And it took so long to carry out that anti-ISIL campaign that I suspect the time lag between the fall of Mosul and the liberation of Mosul, which took longer than the time from Pearl Harbor to D-Day, was to delay the day America needed to have a Syria strategy beyond the Obama administration's last days.

Which is why I wrote not too long ago that we had to actually decide what our Syria objective is.

But I don't know if the Trump administration is any more interested in having a Syria strategy than the Obama administration was.

UPDATE: Related information from the region.

If there is humor in this situation, an American strike on Assad in retaliation for chemical weapons use not only compels Russia to stand up for Assad, which outrages Europeans for the chemical issue, and angers Arabs for the Assad being a hand puppet of Iran issue; but also risks exposing Russian weapons as not good enough to stop an American missile attack.

UPDATE: Russia has a difficult position in Syria. Could American threats push Russia to do something that advances American interests in order to avoid the bad things that could happen to Russia's interests if America strikes successfully?

UPDATE: I suppose it is more accurate to say we need to define our objective rather than saying we need to define a strategy, which is what I think the issue really is.