Tucker Carlson is not somebody who I would usually be happy to endorse. But in this video that has been doing the rounds on social media, he is absolutely spot on. There seems to be a growing consensus amongst the powers that be in America that something must be done about President Assad. Is has been clear for some time that the Assad regime will win this war that has raged since 2011. But claims that he has used chemical weapons against his own people in Duma has rattled the US State Department.
Did Assad use these weapons against Syrian civilians? Yes he probably did, but ultimately this is going to be almost impossible to prove. Over the past few days, there have been heated exchanges in the UN between the USA and Russia- who flatly deny that Assad has used chemical weapons throughout the conflict.
And then this happened…
Now… The childish language and inappropriate content aside here, banging the war drum on President would be an absolute disaster for the USA and the whole world for three important reasons.
1. The first and most important reason is that if there is an encounter between the USA and Russia in Syria, it could quite easily escalate into something much more serious. Given the fact that President Trump and President Putin have amassed considerable political capital being ‘macho men’ it would be hard for one of them to back down. If something approaching a general war between these two powers happens it is almost certain that we would be in a world war three scenarios. The west and Russia & allies would be a conflict where both sides have nuclear weapons. What the exact composition of each side would be is unclear. China would have a lot to gain in such a conflict by staying neutral and providing materials to both sides. It is impossible to imagine Russia and allies beating the USA alone (nevermind supporters) but such a war would cause total devastation.
2. Secondly, there is the problem of credibility. I mentioned previously that President Assad probably did use chemical weapons in Duma, they key word in that sentence being probably. Intervention in an unstable Middle Eastern country based on the assumption that they have illegal weapons should fill us with dread. But the powers in the US State Department seem to have remarkably short memories. Attacking the Syrian regime based on these assumptions would ruin any semblance of credibility that the USA still has in the world. But let’s assume for a moment that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons. The domestic backlash would still be terrible. When Tony Blair took British forces in Iraq he was a popular prime minister trying to oust a universally reviled dictator and there were still large riots in the streets. Compare this to Donald Trump in Syria; we have one of the least popular presidents in recent history who would be intervening in a country where the vast majority of the public accept that there are no ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in this conflict. Politically speaking, President Trump has everything to lose by getting further involved in Syria.
3. The last reason why the USA getting further involved in Syria would be a disaster is the potential outcome of Assad being weakened. The forces of the Syrian government are in a pretty battered shape at the moment. It would not take a lot for the USA to tip the balance of power against the Syrian Arab Army. But what would replace the regime in Syria? At the beginning of the conflict in 2011, there were promises of support for the so-called ‘rebels’ in Syria. Lots of our leaders ended up having egg on their face after it emerged that most of these ‘pro-western rebel groups’ were really just radical jihadist militias. If Trump decides to tip the scales against Assad, he will have to think long and hard about what Syria will look like afterwards, and it probably won’t look pretty.
For these reasons I hope that President Trump and his advisors think hard about escalating their involvement in Syria.