I was heartened Trump activate one of Obama’s old plans for inaction in Syria by hammering one of Assad’s airbases. I think that’s the right idea. Whether proper maintenance of this mindset persists is another matter.
The attack on the airbase was not very serious:
- The Russians were warned.
- The cruise missiles are not great on concrete.
- No attempt was made to go after the toxic inventory, personnel, or even planes.
A real attack would tip Russians that A, B, and C were going to be attacked whereupon the Russians and Syrians would move to D and E. Then those bases would be attacked for more effect on soft targets. A mix of cruise missiles, bunker-busters and areal denial weapons should be used. That would really send a message and reduce effectiveness. Further, air-defences all over Syria should be attacked and close air support of all cities should clear out artillery and armour.
If Trump is worried about refugees he should recruit military aged men with a promise to relocate and protect families either in Syria or USA or other friendly country and raise a real army to defeat Assad on the ground. That’s the only way to force negotiation of a new constitution and settle issues.
It’s just silly to hold that a war-crime involving Sarin is worthy of intervention when those involving chlorine, TNT, starvation and torture are not. Trump should be consistent and get on with it. USA does not have to go it alone. Much of Europe and neighbours of Syria would get involved if there was a coherent plan. Shut down Assad’s air and artillery and Syrians will be able to much of the dirty work.