Friday, April 07, 2017
Syria, ¡Si!; China, Xi
Tho I dislike Donald Trump, I always give credit where credit is due, and Trump's (limited) attack upon an airbase of the Bashar al-Assad regime is to be praised. There have been too many occasions in my long life when good people confronted by evil did nothing. That having been said, however, questions arise as to whether this was an empty gesture or the start of a more athletic response to the crimes of the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies.
Some members of Congress have objected that Mr. Trump should get clearance from Congress before he launches such an attack. Trump's quick reaction has been contrasted with President Obama's supposed cowardly collapse in the face of a prior Assad chemical weapons attack that crossed a "red line" he had enunciated before that attack. As I remember that time, it was CONGRESS that would not permit President Obama to attack Assad, but if that is what happened, that part of the story has been successfully deleted from the media's memory.
What media do acknowledge is that Obama, in cooperation with Russia, negotiated a supposed agreement by Assad to destroy (or export?) his stockpiles of chemical weapons. Assuming that the Syrian air force did indeed launch this week's attack (not some nonexistent ISIS or rebel air force), Assad apparently did NOT eliminate his entire inventory of chemical weapons, but either held some in abeyance or discovered a stash that his regime lost track of and thought had been destroyed but was actually still in existence somewhere within regime territory. The question then becomes, did Assad cheat? and further, did he lie to Russia, and make Russia complicit, without its knowledge, in this week's crime? If Assad did lie to Russia, will Putin punish him? If so, how so? It is certainly within the realm of possibility that Russia could pull the rug out from under Bashar al-Assad and raise up someone more to Russia's liking to the head of the embattled Syrian state, who will defend Russia's interests in the region, without causing Russia multitudinous embarrassments and damage to Russia's reputation in the world. I don't know if there is someone waiting in the wings to replace Bashar al-Assad, within the Assad family or close by. But wouldn't that be an interesting development? — and a nifty way out of the present nitemare?
Round and Round Trump Goes. Where He Stops, Nobody Knows. I heard some highly placed politician or pundit say on TV after the airbase attack that Trump's stance on Syria has pivoted a full 180° in one week, from adamant noninterference to an airstrike. What will his stance be one week from now?
In like fashion, Trump has gone from accusing Communist China of RAPING the United States thru unfair trade and currency manipulation, to hosting a cozy banquet for the President of that country, who is also the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, at Mar-a-Lago. So which is it, Mr. Trump? Is Assad an enemy of the world, as your remarks last nite implied, or just a politician like any other? And is China our worst economic enemy, a rapist of the American people, or our great good friend?
I have observed here on numerous occasions that you cannot believe Donald Trump on anything, because one week (or day) he will say one thing, and the next, the exact opposite. Plainly, serious people in major countries cannot take seriously anything he says. No pledge means anything, no threat can be believed. So our rivals / enemies will pursue their own purposes and policies without worry that Trump will do ANYTHING to back up his ever-empty words. That is no way to run the Executive Branch of the United States Government.
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