Why the Russians are backing Assad

Azaz,_SyriaSecretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is in Moscow for negotiations, has said that Russia needs to choose between Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad and the United States.
One would think that Vladimir Putin would rather have good relations with the United States than Syria.  And what’s in it for Russia to help with the bombing of hospitals and other atrocities?John Hopkins International Affairs expert Vali Nasr explains Russia’s ties to Syria and to Assad, after the jump. [Read more…]

Syria strike disillusions some Trump supporters 

Ann_Coulter_2012_ShankbonePresident Trump’s cruise missile strike on Syria, responding to Assad’s chemical weapons atrocity, is getting good reviews from much of the world.  After all, Barack Obama did nothing when Assad did this before, a display of American weakness that may have encouraged Assad and other bad actors that they could act with impunity.

Russia, though, is Syria’s staunch ally, and Vladimir Putin is furious with Trump.  (If the Russians put him in office, as some are charging, they didn’t get much for their trouble.  As one commenter here put it, why would Putin want Trump in office, when the Democrats were letting him take over any country he wanted?  [There is an answer to that:  Putin needs the economic sanctions lifted.])

But closer to home, many of Trump’s most devoted fans are turning against him. Attacking Syria, they say, is an idealistic foreign involvement like neo-conservatives always want to do.  They thought Trump was different.

Even Ann Coulter, author of In Trump We Trust:  E Pluribus Awesome!, is now bad-mouthing him.

Are any of you Trump supporters now, in the words of one former fan, “officially off the Trump train”?  Are any of you doubters now thinking that he might become a good president? [Read more…]

Trump attacks Syria

Bashar_al-Assad

UPDATE:  President Trump pulled the trigger on attacking Syria.  Some 59 cruise missiles hit an airfield suspected of storing chemical weapons.  The President  called on “all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria. And also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.”

“We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world,” he continued. “We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed and we hope that as long as America stands for justice then peace and harmony will in the end prevail.”

OUR EARLIER POST:

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched chemical weapons on his rebellious citizens, killing 70 men, women, children, and babies.  Now President Trump is considering an attack on Syria.

Would you consider this a violation of his campaign pledge to keep us out of foreign wars?  Or does the heinous nature of Assad’s atrocity justify an exception?  A few air strikes would be short of a war.  Would you support that response?

At any rate, Trump is now denouncing Assad and supporting regime change.  That also has him opposing Vladimir Putin, the Russians being Assad’s major ally.

Trump is also rattling the saber over North Korea, threatening to take action on our own in response to its ballistic missile testa, if China does not intervene.  Other presidents have ignored Kim Jong-un’s threats, saying he is a madman.  As if it were some kind of consolation to consider that a dictator armed with nuclear weapons is insane.

 Then again, Trump also campaigned that he would reverse American “weakness.”  Should America throw its weight around a little more overseas, assuming its traditional role as world leader and quasi-policeman?  Or do you think Trump is starting to embrace neo-conservativism, which believes in promoting democracy around the world through American power?

[Read more…]

Despite what Obama says, our troops are in combat

When two Navy Seals were killed in Syria, a White House spokesman said, “the relatively small number of U.S. service members that are involved in these operations are not in combat but are in a dangerous place.”  But, as Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) says, our troops in Syria and Iraq are definitely, by any definition, in combat. [Read more…]

Pentagon-backed rebels are fighting CIA-backed rebels

In Syria, rebels backed by the Pentagon are fighting rebels backed by the CIA.  Yet more proof, says Jonah Goldberg channelling Kevin Williamson, that the government should be in charge of everything.

Less sarcastically, it is proof of the incoherence of our foreign policy, the ineptness of the current administration’s attempts at intervention, and our inability to impose our will in a chaotic civil war.

[Read more…]

NATO member shoots down Russian plane–Putin threatens

Turkish fighters shot down a Russian attack aircraft over Syria, after accusations that it invaded Turkish air space (which Russia denies).  The two pilots ejected but were  reportedly killed by gunfire from the ground as they parachuted.  A Russian marine on a helicopter rescue mission was also shot.

Vladimir Putin called this a “stab in the back” and said Turkey will face “significant consequences.”   President Obama defended Turkey’s right to defend its air space.

As this unfolds, keep in mind that Turkey belongs to NATO, and, by treaty, an attack on one NATO member is treated as an attack on them all.

UPDATE:  Russia is bombing the area of Syria where the plane came down, hitting both Al Qaeda and Turkmen (Syria’s ethnic Turks) anti-Assad insurgents.  Russia says one of its pilots is alive, though the Turkmen claim to have killed them both.

[Read more…]