It is not possible to overstate the impact on U.S. and global politics of Trump’s unilateral, surprise cruise missile strikes on Syria at the very moment that he was having dinner with China’s President Xi Jinping.
China got Trump’s message. China must either break from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – North Korea – or minimally it must apply immense pressure on it to suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile tests or Trump is prepared carry out a another round of unilateral military action on China’s border.
With each passing day it becomes clear that the Trump Administration has borrowed a page from the Ronald Reagan playbook. Like Trump, Ronald Reagan was written off at first as nothing more than a right-wing, lunatic, grade B-actor/entertainer. But he became a vessel for the Pentagon and eventually was made into an establishment icon because U.S. imperialism recovered from its declining role under his strategy of hyper-militarism and escalating threats.
Trump’s military action against Syria muted his ruling class critics and he won the praise of the Democratic Party leadership and the mainstream media. Trump is on a roll and the next target is North Korea. The Democratic Party “resistance” to Trump has been replaced by obsequiousness. Congress barely whimpered that Trump didn’t even bother to ask for authorization for new war.
The Chinese leadership is obviously stunned. In fact, China is now convinced that a new US military strike in Asia may be imminent unless the DPRK backs down from further expected weapons tests perhaps as early as this coming Saturday – the birthday anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the founding leader of the DPRK.
It must be remembered that the DPRK has consistently offered to suspend nuclear weapons tests in return for the United States cancelling its massive, annual military exercises that simulate the destruction of the North. Both the Obama administration and the Trump administration immediately rejected this offer. The DPRK has also made it clear that what it actually seeks is a peace treaty with the United States to formally end the Korean War that began nearly 70 years ago.
Should Trump take military action and the DPRK responds, which is likely, a new major war could be unleashed.
China lost more than 180,000 soldiers helping North Korea’s military units push U.S. troops out of North Korea in 1950. On the Korean side, more than 5 million Koreans perished according to the Encyclopedia Britannica and the destruction caused by U.S. aerial bombardment was so complete that not one structure higher than one story high was still standing in the capitol of the North, Pyongyang. China understands that Trump’s actions could lead to another and possibly greater catastrophe.
Trump is using the most extreme hawkish rhetoric against the DPRK – far beyond the usual presidential warnings and threats. “We are sending an armada. Very powerful. We have submarines. Very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you.” Trump is correct on that point: the Ohio-class Trident submarine can launch a salvo of 192 nuclear warheads able to simultaneously and almost instantly destroy 24 cities.
The US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson
Trump ready for war in Korea? China thinks so
“The US is making up its mind to stop the North from conducting further nuclear tests, it doesn’t plan to co-exist with a nuclear-armed Pyongyang,” reports the lead April 12 editorial in the Global Times, a media site that unofficially reflects the actual thinking of the Chinese leadership.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday April 11: “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them!”
Following his tweet Trump placed a direct phone call to Xi Jinping to warn and threaten China.
Immediately after the phone call with Trump the Chinese media sounded the alarm and insisted that the DPRK not proceed with its expected missile tests. The Chinese media sharply demanded that the DPRK cancel any weapons test for April 15, the anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth. The Global Times editorial is truly unprecedented and announces that China is ready to cut off oil exports to North Korea whose economy has stabilized in recent years.
It is essential to read the words of the remarkable lead editorial by the Global Times:
“The US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is headed toward the Korean Peninsula after abruptly turning back from sailing to Australia, and Trump sent a warning via his tweet. These are probably related to reports that satellite surveillance shows North Korea is likely to conduct new nuclear tests.
“Washington’s latest threat to Pyongyang is more credible given its just launched missile attack at an air base in Syria. The Korean Peninsula has never been so close to a military clash since the North conducted its first nuclear test in 2006. (our emphasis)
“If Pyongyang conducts its sixth nuclear test in the near future, the possibility of US military action against it will be higher than ever. Not only is Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises.
“Now the Trump team seems to have decided to solve the North Korean nuclear crisis. As the discussion runs deeper, a situation of no-solution will not be accepted…
“The US is making up its mind to stop the North from conducting further nuclear tests, it doesn’t plan to co-exist with a nuclear-armed Pyongyang.
“China supports solution of the North Korean nuclear issue under the framework of UNSC and Six-Party Talks. If the US takes unilateral action, it will win little international support. Pyongyang can continue its tough stance, however, for its own security, it should at least halt provocative nuclear and missile activities.
“Pyongyang should avoid making mistakes at this time.” (our emphasis)
“Military First”: Trump Employs the Ronald Reagan Playbook
Donald Trump is clearly adopting the strategy of Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s. Reagan’s surprise 1980 presidential victory led to a profound realignment of global politics. It was an earlier iteration of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” brand. Reagan and the Pentagon were arguing that America was in decline but that a vast show of military spending and military power could turn the tide.
Reagan employed vast increases in military spending coupled with reckless threats and preparation for wars abroad as a way of gaining leverage over major world powers. In the 1980’s, China joined Reagan in an anti-Soviet alliance and in return was rewarded with the U.S. government’ decision to allow American corporations to engage in foreign direct investment in China while maintaining severe sanctions and technology embargoes on the Soviet Union at a time when the USSR’s economic growth had already slowed.
Reagan’s “military first” strategy ultimately allowed U.S. imperialism to regain its global role following the humiliating defeat it suffered in Vietnam which in turn created space for anti-imperialist forces everywhere. US troops were forced out of Vietnam in 1973. In the face of weakened U.S. power, revolutionary movements swept Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Iran, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
It looked like the empire was in dramatic decline.
But Reagan and the Pentagon brass employed a new strategy of military build-up, brute force, military threats and a carrots and sticks approach of economic and diplomatic rewards and punishments allowing the United States to either destabilize or reorient the positions of both China and the Soviet leadership.
This was how American imperialism became “great again” following its setbacks in Southeast Asia. This now is the Trump/Pentagon prescription to “Make America Great Again” following its debacle in the Middle East wars of the past two decades.
Today, the danger of igniting regional and global confrontation is real. China and Russia are backpedaling, hoping that their prudence, or possible appeasement, will deter or deflect the danger. Their position is understandable given the level of risk. But appeasement, as we know from history, poses its own risks in the face of bullying and aggression. Appeasing the bully, the aggressor, invites more not less aggression.
Trump’s Syria Attack Trampled Many Laws
With 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, each armed with over 1,000 pounds of explosives, Donald Trump went from scoundrel-in-chief to national hero, virtually overnight. The corporate media, the neoconservatives and most of Congress hailed Trump as strong and presidential for lobbing bombs into Syria, reportedly killing seven civilians and wounding nine.
“The instant elevation of Trump into a serious and respected war leader was palpable,” wrote Glenn Greenwald. This sends Trump a frightening message: bombing makes you popular.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. The use of chemical weapons is illegal, immoral and intolerable. If it was an intentional attack, it constitutes a war crime. Anyone responsible for the horrific April 4 events in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, which killed over 80 people, including at least 20 women and 30 children, should be brought to justice. But Trump’s bombing of Syria, a sovereign nation, was illegal, under both U.S. and international law.
Trump and the prevailing U.S. national discourse rushed to judgment about who was responsible for the chemical attack – the Syrian government. An investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, was ongoing when Trump launched his missiles into Syria two days after the incident. The OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission was already “in the process of gathering and analysing information from all available sources.”
As former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter pointed out,
“chemical attacks had been occurring inside Syria on a regular basis . . . with some being attributed to the Syrian government (something the Syrian government vehemently denies), and the majority being attributed to the anti-regime fighters, in particular those affiliated with Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate.”
The Assad government has denied responsibility for the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack, and some U.S. experts are also skeptical of the Trump administration’s supposed certainty that the Syrian military was responsible.
Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and director of the Council for the National Interest, stated on the Scott Horton show that “military and intelligence personnel” in the Middle East, who are “intimately familiar” with the intelligence, call the allegation that Assad or Russia carried out the attack a “sham.”
Giraldi said the intelligence confirms the Russian account,
“which is that they [attacking aircraft] hit a warehouse where al-Qaeda rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties.” Moreover, Giraldi noted, “Assad had no motive for doing this.”
Journalist Robert Parry concurs:
“Assad’s military had gained a decisive advantage over the rebels and he had just scored a major diplomatic victory with the Trump administration’s announcement that the U.S. was no longer seeking ‘regime change’ in Syria. The savvy Assad would know that a chemical weapon attack now would likely result in U.S. retaliation and jeopardize the gains that his military had achieved with Russian and Iranian help.”
Regardless of who is responsible for the Khan Sheikhoun chemical deaths, however, Trump’s response violated both U.S. and international law.
Trump’s Missile Attack Was Illegal
Two days after Trump’s bombing occurred, the President sent a letter to congressional leaders informing them of his attack on Syria. The War Powers Resolution, passed in the wake of the Vietnam War, requires that the President report to Congress within 60 days of initiating the use of military force.
The resolution, however, allows the President to introduce U.S. Armed Forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities in only three situations: First, after Congress has declared war, which has not happened in this case; second, in “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces,” which has not occurred; third, when there is “specific statutory authorization,” which there is not.
The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) authorized the President to use force only against those groups and countries that had supported the 9/11 attacks. The bombing in Syria was not authorized by any other act of Congress. Thus, Trump’s missile attack violated the War Powers Resolution.
Regarding international law, the United Nations Charter prohibits the “use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” There are only two exceptions: when conducted in self-defense after an armed attack, or with the approval of the Security Council.
Syria had not attacked the United States or any other country before Trump ordered the missile strike. “The use of chemical weapons within Syria is not an armed attack on the United States,” said Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell. And the Security Council had not approved Trump’s attack. It therefore violated the Charter. In fact, under the U.N. Charter, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would have a valid self-defense claim since the U.S. initiated an armed attack on Syria.
So, Trump committed an illegal act of aggression against Syria when he lobbed his missiles. According to U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3314, an “act of aggression” is the use of armed force by a state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of another state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter. As stated above, Trump’s attack constituted an unlawful use of force under the Charter.
Moreover, treaties the United States has ratified, including the Charter, are part of domestic U.S. law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. That means a violation of the Charter also violates U.S. law.
In his report to Congress, Trump wrote that he directed the attack to avert “a worsening of the region’s current humanitarian crisis.” So-called “humanitarian intervention” is not a settled norm of international law. As stated above, to be lawful, military force can only be conducted in self-defense or with the blessing of the Security Council. Neither was present in this case.
Trump’s humanitarian claim also does not pass the straight face test, in light of his Muslim Ban excluding all Syrian refugees from entry into the United States (halted by the courts, for now). Since the conflict in Syria began in 2011, more than 400,000 Syrians have been killed. Five million people are refugees. If Trump were indeed motivated by humanitarian concerns, Trump would embrace those seeking to escape the carnage in Syria, which he has emphatically not done.
The 1980 Refugee Act grants the President authority to determine how many refugees may be admitted to the United States. The President must consider whether “the admission of certain refugees in response to the emergency refugee situation is justified by grave humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.”
When, during the presidential campaign, Trump said he wanted to ban all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., he was asked if he could then “look children aged five, eight, ten, in the face and tell them they can’t go to school here.” Without skipping a beat, Trump replied,
“I can look in their faces and say, ‘You can’t come’. I’ll look them in the face.” Spoken like a true humanitarian.
Trump’s new-found humanitarian concerns, including his lament about the terrible fate of Khan Sheikhoun’s “small children and even beautiful little babies,” also stand in contrast to the horrific death toll from other U.S.-allied bombings in recent weeks. The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria killed nearly 1,000 non-combatants in March alone, “a record claim,” according to Airwars.org, a non-profit organization that monitors civilian casualties from airstrikes in the Middle East.
“These reported casualty levels are comparable with some of the worst periods of Russian activity in Syria,” the group said.
The coalition forces’ use of white phosphorous, a chemical weapon that burns to the bone, has been documented in Mosul, Iraq. And the U.S. Central Command confirmed that it has used depleted uranium, arguably a war crime, against ISIS in Syria.
Encouraging Trump to Use Military Force
Trump is obsessed with being liked. So, smarting from the healthcare loss and attacked by the media, the GOP’s right-wing and Democrats, Trump turned the tables. Now that he’s become Bomber-in-Chief, Trump is liked by nearly everybody – or so it seems. And what lesson will he learn from his missile attack? That being a strong, forceful leader makes people like you. And blowing things up makes you a “strong, forceful leader.”
Members of the Trump administration are sending mixed signals about whether they seek to forcibly change the Assad regime in Syria. That would violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the United States has also ratified.
During the U.N. Security Council meeting following Trump’s missile attack, the ambassador from Bolivia declared,
“The United States has not only unilaterally attacked . . . [it] has become that investigator, has become the prosecutor, has become the judge, has become the jury. Whereas the investigation would have allowed us to establish in an objective manner who is responsible for the attacks, this is an extreme violation of international law.”
Trump’s missile attack also has put a dangerous strain on U.S. relations with nuclear-armed Russia, which supports the Assad regime in the conflict with various opposition groups, including Al Qaeda’s affiliate and its spinoff, Islamic State or ISIS.
Following the April 6 missile strike, Russia suspended a memorandum of understanding designed to minimize collisions between U.S. and Russian aircraft over Syrian airspace. A statement issued by Russia, Iran and Assad’s forces said,
“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 or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.”
With his missile attack, Trump has made the world a much more dangerous place.
“Make no mistake,” Norman Solomon wrote. “With 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons at the ready in the United States and Russia, pushing to heighten tensions between the two countries is playing with thermonuclear fire.”
Where Will Trump Bomb Next?
Meanwhile, Trump is taking provocative measures against nuclear-armed North Korea, deploying an aircraft carrier and several warships to the Korean Peninsula. Trump’s show of force is a response to North Korea’s recent ballistic missile test.
The Trump administration has indicated it may use pre-emptive strikes to prevent North Korea from developing a missile that could carry a nuclear warhead to the United States. Pre-emptive strikes violate the U.N. Charter, which specifies several non-forceful measures, including diplomacy, to maintain or restore international peace and security. But diplomacy doesn’t seem to be in Trump’s toolkit.
North Korea warned of “catastrophic consequences of [the United States’] outrageous actions.” Pyongyang said,
“We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms.” A foreign ministry spokesman said North Korea “is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US.”
When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” he cited the U.S. strike on Syria as a not-so-veiled warning to North Korea:
“The message that any nation can take is if you violate international norms, if you violate international agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point, a response is likely to be undertaken.”
By logical extension, Trump’s missile attack on Syria makes the United States vulnerable to retaliation from other countries that see the U.S. violating international law and committing acts of aggression.
What can be done to stop the Trump administration’s illegal use of military force in Syria and its dangerous provocation of Russia and North Korea?
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, suggests doing things that will be “positive for the Syrian people.” She advocates immediately lifting the ban on Syrian refugees, providing the U.N. with its requested $5 billion to deal with the humanitarian crisis, and demanding that the Trump administration work with Russia toward a ceasefire and a political solution.
Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. Visit her website at http://marjoriecohn.com/ and follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/marjoriecohn.
The End of the Trump Presidency?
On April 4 2017 in the Syrian city of Khan Shaykhun, a city controlled by western-backed terrorists, chemical weapons killed more than eighty civilians. Immediately, local and foreign sources (the White Helmets and Syrian Observatory, respectively, dubiously linked to Al Qaeda groups) blamed the Syrian Arab Army, accusing them of employing chemical agents. In the following forty-eight hours, the mainstream media flooded print media and the airwaves with information that alleged that Assad used chemical weapons. As is known, it is not the first time that the legitimate government of Syria has been accused of attacking its own people with weapons of mass destruction.
In all similar events in the past, it has been later discovered that the chemical agents in question were used by the Al Nusra Front and Al Qaeda terrorists. In 2013, Obama tacitly rejected the argument that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons in Ghouta, deciding not to succumb to internal pressure to bomb Syria in response. Donald Trump required little confirmation before taking the initiative to cross the red line, openly attacking the Syrian army, even though his same intelligence community strongly doubted that the chemical attack took place according to the narrative advanced by the media.
There are several hypotheses regarding what may have happened in Khan Shaykhun. The first one points to a false flag by rebels and terrorists supported by Israeli, British, Saudi and Qatari intelligence. Alternatively, it could have simply been an accident. Assad’s forces could have hit a terrorist weapons cache without knowing that it was dedicated to the production and storage of chemical weapons. Another theory offers that foreign intelligence agents may have provided accurate information to the terrorists in Khan Shaykhun about what buildings were going to be targeted by Assad’s air force, thereby allowing them to move chemical weapons into the targeted locations in order to bring about a civilian massacre.
Whatever the case may be, it is unthinkable that Assad and the Syrian army would use chemical agents against their own civilians. There is no rational reason for them to use such weapons which do not guarantee any tactical advantage and which, besides, would incite an obvious, vehement reaction from the international community — a counterproductive move from any way you look at it. This is not to mention that two days before the accident (?), Trump and Tillerson had publicly opened up to Assad, broaching a Syrian future with the president still in office. Once again, the use of chemical weapons proved to be of no tactical gain, spelling full-blown political suicide. From whatever perspective one observes the incident; an intentional chemical attack by Syrian forces is not credible and should be therefore ruled out. Furthermore, Russia saw its request for an independent investigation in the Khan Shaykhun chemical incident blocked by almost all nations belonging to the UN council, with the exception of Syria, Bolivia, China and Russia. What do the US and its allies have to hide? We all know the answer to that.
An important factor to consider in order to understand the events surrounding the incident with chemical gases concerns the immediate American response. The bombardment with cruise missile, which caused a dozen deaths and some slight damage to Shayrat Air Base, needed at least a couple of months of preparation. This consideration helps clarify the scope of the chemical attack along with the attendant rationale and motivations.
Notably, over the past two months, Trump has received all kinds of pressure to continue the neocon-inspired aggression against Syria. The main cheerleaders of this attack certainly fall into that category of players that includes the intelligence community, the military-industrial complex, neoconservatives, the Saudis, the Israelis, the Turks and the Qataris. It is not unthinkable that the chemical attack was an act needed in order to allow a US military response. One must not neglect to consider the very positive outcome of the meeting between Trump and the Saudi prince, the latter of whom is a major supporter of aggression against Syria. The summit between the King of Jordan and the American president the day after the events in Khan Shaykhun ought to be viewed in the same light. At the same time, other events look more than suspicious in terms of timing and motives, such as the permanent exclusion of Trump adviser Steve Bannon in favor of General H. R. McMaster (appointed by Trump). McMaster is a protégé of General Petraeus, a leading exponent of the interests of the neoconservatives. This is not to mention the exclusion of Flynn a month ago, another person who for years has advised against aggression against Syria, mainly thinking of the consequences that such a move would entail at the international level.
Much ambiguity also remains when one considers the absence of members of the American intelligence community in the war room during the bombing of Syria on April 6. Rumors suggest that these American agencies would have recommended that Trump not act on the basis of partial or false information regarding the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun. Trump, contrary to what he stated during the presidential campaign, has dismissed the advice of his intelligence community, preferring instead to act unilaterally under pressure from McMaster and other neocons in the administration.
The bombardment, involving the use of 59 cruise missiles (23 hit the base, others went missing, according to the Russian ministry of defense), caused little damage to the Shayrat Air Base, thanks to the prompt evacuation of Syrian personnel, and no injuries were reported amongst the Russian contingent. The Pentagon claims to have warned the Russians of their intentions, but it is more likely that there were no alternatives, and that this act was mostly political and at no cost. Rather than reading this as a hypothetical US courtesy to the Russians (and the Syrians, because Moscow immediately warned Damascus), we must consider that a few seconds after the launch of the first cruise missile by the two destroyers in the Mediterranean, Russian forces in the area were already fully aware of the path and destination of the missiles, thereby alerting Damascus. It is also possible that the generals close to Trump advised him to alert Moscow because of the danger of a Russian reaction if hit by US missiles.
Some doubts still remain as to the intentions and purpose of the attacks. In recent days, a hypothesis has emerged implying some sort of connivance between Russia and the United States in these attacks, apparently staged to appease the interventionists of the US deep state. There is no evidence to support this hypothesis, and the relatively limited damage to the Shayrat military airport may rest either with the high defense capabilities of the Syrian and Russians, or to the marked inefficiency of Raytheon’s cruise missiles, rather than any purposeful intention to do limited damage. In coming days, with more information available, it will be important to analyze what exactly happened to the cruise missiles that did not hit their target. As many know, it is taboo in the United States to criticize the military-industry complex, given the importance and influence it enjoys. In this sense, it is no surprise that in the United States, the press has been talking about the complete success of the attack, with 58 out of 59 missiles apparently being advertised as hitting their targets.
For Trump it may well be the beginning of the end. The intention may have been to make a once-off attack to appease the deep state, lowering in the process the heat stemming from Russiagate, in order to allow for the implementation of national policies in line with the proclaimed America-First doctrine that has thus far been sabotaged by opponents and detractors. These same detractors now applaud Trump for what they see as his first presidential act, which involves killing civilians with missiles.
What Trump does not appear to understand is that he has opened up a Pandora’s Box that implicitly encourages foreign intelligence and terrorists in Syria to rely on American help by simply playing the chemical-gas-attack card. Trump seems unaware that he is now under the complete control of the media, the intelligence agencies, Al Qaeda, and the neocons, who are all the time working towards the involvement of the United States in ever more wars, such as with the one in Syria. Trump has intentionally sold out to the deep state in the hope of saving his presidency. However, in so doing, he is doomed to becoming a puppet of the deep state. Now let us speculate for a moment about what may happen in the coming weeks.
In response to US aggression, Russia, Syria and Iran will increase cooperation against terrorists in Syria without any further cooperation with the United States. In this regard, we have already seen the suspension of channels of communication between Russia and the United States. The most likely reason for this is to avoid revealing to the United States the whereabouts of Russian troops in Syria. This hopefully causes huge concern for Washington, as the next American attack on Syria may impact on Russian troops. Regardless, it now seems clear that in the case of a new attack on Syria, there will be a firm and proportionate response from Moscow that could even lead to the sinking of the ships that launched the cruise missiles. It constitutes a dangerous escalation that could involve nuclear superpowers. Trump is probably betting that Moscow, in the case of another attack on Syria, would not dare attack American ships. Unfortunately for Trump and the rest of the world, his calculations are dead wrong, pushing the world to the brink of disaster in the event of another American bombardment of Syria. If Russia sinks American naval ships, and Trump does not respond, he is done. If he responds, then the world is done. Let us hope that the US does not do stupid shit (an Obama quote).
In case al Qaeda once again uses chemical weapons, Trump will be requested to answer with force, as he has already done. If he refuses to do so, he will be immediately pilloried as Obama was in 2013, thereby committing political suicide. Trump has already lost his most loyal supporters, who had voted for him to stop US military adventures abroad. By deciding to bomb Syria, he has opened the door to either an early termination of his presidency or for a large-scale conflict. Whatever the case may be, the United States begins a new phase of conflict in the Middle East, in direct contrast to the claims made by Trump throughout the presidential campaign. It represents a 180-degree reversal in policy that reveals the real intentions of the American presidency, namely continuing the preservation of the American unipolar world, in spite of lacking the necessary operational and military capabilities. After all, Obama resisted for six years the pressure to bomb Syria coming from the extremist wing of the deep state. Trump took only eighty days to voluntarily go along with plans to attack Syria. Whatever the hidden truth of these two events, it is clear that from now on that nothing will be as before.