A Change in the Air

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017. The world woke up to the news of 86 dead and 546 wounded after a chemical attack thought to have been ordered by the Assad regime took place in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Chemical weapons, according to an official OPCW definition are any that contain ‘’toxic chemicals or its precursor that can cause death, injury, temporary incapacitation or sensory irritation through its chemical action." After the Chemical Weapons Convention sent a treaty into effect in 1997, of which 192 countries are signatories, including the U.S, Russia and Syria, many leaders have agreed to destroy their stockpiles.

The year after the civil war in Syria began, 2012, the government released an official statement claiming that they did indeed possess chemical weapons which they would use in case of a foreign attack. The immediate response to this was President Barack Obama’s ‘’red-line’’ warning, suggest at a U.S. intervention in case of an attack. This threat never reached reality after Syria agreed to hand over its supply and sign a deal with Russia and the U.S. Although the official confirmation came, many still doubted whether the declaration included all of Syria’s resources.

After Tuesday’s attack, President Donald Trump had the following to say, ‘’these heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution." Once again, his lack of awareness of facts is as apparent as ever. The President himself tweeted back in 2013 that, ‘’We should stay the hell out of Syria, the ‘rebels’ are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS? ZERO’."As late as the October of last year, he has publicly expressed his condemnation of any air strikes against the Assad regime, stating that, ‘’right now, Syria is fighting ISIS; we have people that want to fight both at the same time. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved.’’ Despite his previous concerns, Trump appeared to have no problem launching almost 60 missiles at the military base where the chemical weapon carries originated from, without approval from Congress. This action demonstrates exactly what most other world leaders have to fear when it comes to President Trump - his unpredictability. He possess no coherent foreign-policy agenda and, as of this moment, no fixed Administration to turn to for guidance either. If he aims to bring peace to Syria and convince all potential doubters why the airstrikes should continue, President Trump needs to do what the Obama Administration couldn’t - present a credible alternative to Assad.
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