Does Washington have a Viable Strategy in Syria

The recent US attack against the Syrian forces deployed at the Shayrat airbase carried out with the use of a total of 59 Tomahawk missiles at the beginning of this month has marked a new milestone in Washington’s military and political game in the Middle East. Yet, it seems this new approach is a way more clear-cut that the one that was pursued by the former US president that would, for no apparent reason, often be referred to as peace-keeper.

So, what Trump and those forces behind him are up to this time? There are things lying on the surface, even though they are in no way connected with the pretext of this recent attack. In fact, what we’re witnessing has been a carefully orchestrated media campaign aimed at relieving the extensive amount of media pressure that has been put on the new US president after allegations that he’s unable to challenge Vladimir Putin and pursue a comprehensive policy in the Middle East. So, the missile attack can be regarded as a “creative” way of making Trump’s critics go quiet. The sitting American president seems to be convinced that after such a radical change in Washington’s policies he will have his hands untied which may allow him to make adjustments to the way the country is actually being run.

Additionally, there is distinctively visible a desire to somehow humiliate Russia to be observed in Washington today, that is based on the assumption that it neither capable, neither willing of protecting its sole real ally in the Middle East. At the same time, the Trump administration remains convinced that Moscow would keep seeking dialogue with Washington, so presumably it will not dare to answer such provocative attacks with to any reckless steps.

What is also of great importance to Washington is a need to show its regional allies that after its miserable defeat in Syria it will still continue supporting the ongoing struggle of the Sunni monarchies against Iran that got itself “entrenched” in Syria. It’s believed that such strikes should raise the morale of the the Persian Gulf monarchs and show America’s commitment to the defense of its national interests in the region, both real and imaginary. The White House wants to secure this objective as quickly as possible since Obama’s days in office have corroded the trust that the majority of regional allies had in Washington.

At the same time, a signal is being sent to those forces in the Arab world who have already begun to reorient Russia that looks as a more reliable partner overall, that is short on promises but is willing to fulfill that that it’s made, like the pursuit of the utter and complete destruction of radical terrorist forces. The message is addressed to Egypt, Iraq, as well as the part of Libya that is controlled by the parliament in Tobruk. The ultimate goal is to show Moscow’s “helplessness” in the face of America’s military might. Additionally, Ankara is being hinted that it shouldn’t defy NATO’s rules or it may regret its decision.

From the strategic point of view, these strikes have actually managed to weaken the Syrian Air Force, that have been inflicted massive loses upon the ranks of pro-Western radical Islamists, now the latter have a narrow window of opportunity to strike back and Trump knows it.

As for the reasons for that reckless step that are in no way connected to Russia or Iran, it’s pretty clear that Donald Trump decided to come to rescue of Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel, as their support ratings have hit rock bottom in the middle of the pre-election period.

If all the above mentioned tasks are to be summarized that all of them are coming in a pattern that could serve as the best proof ever that the era of a unipolar world has come to an end. In spite of Trump’s, the US will not and cannot act any differently under any president. If it as some point it chose to force its soldiers to pack and go home, Washington would find itself in the middle of nowhere with 20 trillion dollars in debt on its hands. After all, American politicians recognizing the obvious – that the economic initiative is in the hands of China, and military-political – in Russia is all that is needed to put an end to the dollar era. That is why we’re witnessing Washington’s desperate attempts to seize this initiative, to undermine Russia’s geopolitical positions get an upper hand yet again.

It’s true that Washington’s reckless moves may result in it securing certain short-time goals and scoring propaganda points, but this won’t change the grand picture. Russia will not accept America’s dictate and will not abandon its major ally, so it will be taking military steps to strengthen Syria’s defense capability, which will lead to even faster rapprochement between Moscow, Tehran and Damascus.

Can we expect Trump to get himself engaged in a big bluff? Well, it’s quite possible. But he needs to be more really cautious, if he doesn’t want to jeopardize America’s relations with China. Firing missiles in the height of Xi Jinping’s visit to the US is the worst idea one could come up. Aggressive steps against Syria, in which Beijing is really interested in, is a lousy way of intimidating the Asian economic powerhorse. And China can hardly be interested in a partner that does only fight terrorism on paper, while continuing sponsoring it. Chinese politicians remain mindful of the Uyghur Muslims separatists at all time, since they’ve been seeking ways to make Xinjiang go rouge. So, such acts of aggression will alert the already cautious China. So it’s true that a Tomahawk can inflict a lot of damage, but is Washington aware of the exact extent of damage it has inflicted upon itself by shooting those?

By Maxim Egorov
Source: New Eastern Outlook

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