A One-Off Strike On Syria, But Aimed At China And North Korea
Who was Trump having dinner with when the strikes hit their targets in Syria? Xi Jingping, President of China. And what were they talking about during their dinner? North Korea.
If you believe that these strikes were to take out Assad or weaken Assad in any manner, you’d be wrong. The strikes didn’t even crater the airfield to prevent any planes from taking off. In fact, there was very minimal damage to the functionality of the airfield altogether. I would accurately equate the strikes to the strikes on The Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory under the Bill Clinton administration. Precise, minimal damage and meant to send a message to a nation that is completely different from the nation where the missiles struck.
These strikes were merely a strategic ‘chess move,’ and a coordinated show of force to send a message to the Xi and China that the US is willing to use military force if Kim-Jong-Un is not dealt with and to also show the rest of the world that we are not merely drawing meaningless red lines. Not to mention the fact that the US did give Russia a one hour ‘heads up’ before the strike and Russia, most likely alerted Assad as well.
These strategic, minimal strikes show Mr. Trump is prepared to make good on his pledge to take unilateral action against North Korea if Beijing is unwilling to pressure its mercurial neighbor into suspending, if not dismantling its own nuclear program.
Kim Yong-Hyun, a professor at Dongguk University, said the strike against Syria was a statement of intent that was meant for a broader audience. “It signals to Pyongyang that the US has a new sheriff in town who isn’t hesitant about pulling his gun from the holster,” Kim said.
On Saturday, Pyongyang responded, calling the US strike “an unforgivable act of aggression” that showed its decision to develop nuclear weapons was “the right choice a million times over.”
Unlike President Reagan’s 1986 bombing raid on Libya which was aimed at killing then President Muammar el-Qaddafi, Mr. Trump’s strike was not aimed at taking out Syria’s leadership, nor even its military’s command-and-control structure. The strike, even though striking Syria, was aimed at 2 other completely different countries. China and North Korea. Kim Jung Un will internalize a different message: namely, that it should abandon its weapons program to avoid a US attack.
As for Russia? Who’s calling Trump a ‘Russian agent’ now? No one. Smart. Mr. Putin called the strike an “act of aggression against a sovereign nation,” but didn’t cancel U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s planned visit to Moscow next week, so the extent of Russian fury is most likely a big ploy between Trump and Russia as well.
Trump is playing Chess, while the rest of the world is playing Checkers.