Trump announces strikes on Syria following suspected chemical weapons attack by Assad forces

Damascus sky lights up with surface to air missile fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018. (Hassan Ammar / AP)

 

The president did not specify a target for the strikes, but said the United States would aim to hit sites “associated with the chemical weapons capabilities” of Assad’s regime.

President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the United States military — in conjunction with France and the United Kingdom — to launch strikes on Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad on a Damascus suburb last week.

The president did not specify a target for the strikes, but said the United States would aim to hit sites “associated with the chemical weapons capabilities” of Assad’s regime. Continue reading

Passivity in the Face of Big-Power Aggression

  • The West has developed reasonable-sounding rationales for not acting in the face of what is clearly aggression by big powers. That inaction has bought peace, but the peace has never been more than temporary.
  • Officials in Beijing and Moscow believe their countries should be bigger than they are today. Faced with little or no resistance, China and Russia are succeeding in redrawing their borders by force.
  • Should we be concerned by a nuclear-armed, hostile state falling apart? Of course, but we should be more worried by a hostile state launching nuclear attacks on the Baltics, as the Kremlin has repeatedly threatened to do.
  • The Chinese and Russians may be villains, but it is we, through inaction, who have permitted them to be villainous. The choice is no longer risk versus no risk. The choice is which awful risk to assume.

Speaking in April at the Aspen Security Forum in London, Douglas Lute, Washington’s permanent representative to NATO, said:

“So essentially there is a sense that, yes, there is a new more assertive, maybe even more aggressive Russia, but that fundamentally Russia is a state in decline. We have conversations in NATO headquarters about states in decline and arrive at two fundamental models: states in rapid decline which typically lead to chaos and breakdown, and states in gradual decline. Then we ask ourselves: Which of these two tracks would we rather have our nearest, most militarily capable neighbor, with thousands of nuclear weapons, move along? To many, trying to manage Russia’s decline seems more attractive than a failed state of that size and magnitude right on the border of NATO.”

Continue reading

Russia poses ‘greatest threat’ to US national security: Dunford

Russia now poses the greatest threat to US national security and its behavior is “nothing short of alarming,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, the nominee to be the US military’s top officer, said Thursday.

Dunford, currently the commandant of the US Marine Corps, told senators at his confirmation hearing it would be “reasonable” to provide lethal weapons to Ukrainian forces battling pro-Russian rebels. Continue reading