Earlier this month, Syrian regime forces hoisted their flag above the southern town of Daraa and celebrated. Although there is more bloodletting to come, the symbolism was hard to miss.
Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign relations
Last Friday’s military operation against Syria accomplished little. The message the United States and its allies intended to send to Bashar al-Assad’s regime about the use of chemical weapons was so feeble that leaders in Washington, Paris, and London would have been better off saving the money spent on jet fuel and cruise missiles. The whole spectacle reflects what so many have already concluded: President Donald Trump has no Syria strategy.
It has become banal to say that the Middle East is a mess and that the region’s absurd maelstrom of death, violence, degradation, corruption, extremism, and authoritarianism is made worse by the Donald Trump administration’s apparent absence of any strategy. Trump’s approach to the region seems at first glance to be all sword dancing, orb-gripping, and tough-guy rhetoric that is dangerously lacking in substance.