On the evening of Thursday, April 6th, the military of the United States carried out an airstrike on a Syrian airfield, and the attack was described as a response to the previous use of chemical nerve weapons that the Assad regime in Syria used on its own citizens. Earlier in the week, the Syrian government had used such weapons on members of its own populace, and many foreign experts believe the move was an attempt to test President Trump.
While there was mixed reactions to the military show of force, there seems to be a general consensus that the attack was at least necessary to show that the Assad regime can’t do whatever they want without consequences. Many Congressmen and Senators have questioned the legality and even constitutionality of the attack, and some have said it was completely unconstitutional because the president has to seek the approval of Congress before deploying any war strategies. Some have skirted that issue by claiming the attack wasn’t an act of war, but rather a simple response to a single event.
Should the president decide that further action is needed in Syria, he will most certainly have to get the permission of Congress to do so. Without that input, the American people have no voice for how they wish to act on the world stage, and America is still owned by the people, not the politicians. It is not up to them to make unilateral decisions without the input of their constituents and peers. This is not a nation of one, but a nation of many.
Before the attacks, a Russian deputy United Nations envoy named Vladimir Safronkov warned that there could be what he called ‘negative consequences’ if the United States were to enact any military-grade response to the chemical weapons atrocities in Syria. He warned that those who initiated the military action would be forced to hold the responsibility, and when asked what sort of negative consequences could come about, he referred to Iraq and Libya as examples.
It’s not difficult to surmise that this vague threat is coming directly from Putin himself, despite the fact that he has claimed his support for Assad only goes so far. It’s hard to believe that any world leader, especially one like Putin, could agree with using chemical weapons on the country’s own people just to see what sort of response it would illicit from some former power. Perhaps Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea, could understand, but only someone with a severely lax grip on reality could rationalize such a thing.
Whether there will be any negative consequences for the United States is yet to be seen, but it is certainly possible. No one truly knows where the loyalties of Putin lie, but now that Donald Trump is in the White House, it is possible the Russian dictator could be torn between which to side with. He could easily claim that Assad stepped over the line, which would allow him to throw his support behind Trump. If that is the case, there will likely be little in the way of negative consequences. However, if Putin’s positive public attitude toward Trump is nothing but an act or smokescreen of some sort, there may be much more to worry about.
Only time will tell if Trump and his administration will want to pursue any further action in Syria, but he will have to get Congress’s permission to do so. His decision to further action in Syria may very well depend on Putin’s response to the Syrian airfield attack, so he better make the right judgment.