Staff Editorial: Bombing of Syrian airstrip demonstrates force, not presidential capability

President Donald Trump’s critics have jokingly said that he could instigate WWIII. With his latest military decisions, he has taken the country one step closer to making that joke a frightening reality.

On April 6, Trump ordered an airstrike consisting of 59 tomahawk cruise missiles on the Shayrat airbase in Syria. The U.S. targeted fuel and ammunition sites as well as air defenses.

The strike attack was in response to chemical agents unleashed by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad against the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, which killed 89 people and violated the Geneva Convention.

This impulsive act revealed how short-sighted the president is. An effective leader must be able to predict the possible outcomes of his decisions. However, Trump failed to foresee frustrations towards the U.S. from Russia and Iran, two countries that are strongly allied with Syria.

“What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor […] America knows our ability to respond” the two countries stated in a joint statement to the press. Russia has already begun moving more warships to the eastern Mediterranean in an effort to protect the Assad-controlled portion of Tartus, a valuable port, and the next move is unknown.

Trump has opened the doors for a deadly domino effect and soon, every world power could get dragged into a fight over a problem that could have been handled diplomatically.

For example, he could have air-dropped medical supplies, food, and water to the people in the gas-stricken towns or lifted his bigoted immigration ban and allowed Syrians to leave their war-ravaged land and find safety in the U.S. as refugees.

Minimally, he could have worked with other members of the United Nations to find a diplomatic solution rather than going rogue with American military force.

There are many alternative ways that President Trump could have handled the situation that did not consist of military aggression.

Furthermore, the effectiveness of the air strike is unknown. Assad is still the president of Syria and has the power to continue to harm his own people. Worse, his alliance with Russia and Iran two countries with nuclear capabilities – could mean that he is planning some sort of retaliation against the U.S.

President Trump must realize that not every decision has to be a show of brute force. Bombing another country without a long-term plan of action, even in an attempt to punish murderous actions,  doesn’t make one presidential. The sooner Trump learns how to be diplomatic and work with his allies, the sooner the country, and the world, can take a big sigh of relief.

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