Trump sends a signal to North Korea, China and Syria

Assad's use of Sarin again in Syria this week was unforgivable. Not only due to the cruelty of the attack, but because repeated use of gas as a weapon makes it more acceptable on future battlefields. Trump was correct in launching 59 cruise missiles on the Syrian airfield that launched the attack for that reason alone. However, this strike is only the first step in a long journey. Trump now faces the task of reasserting American global power. The process will commence with a demonstration of American political intention and reversal of the effects of Obama's endemic foreign policy weakness.

Trump's ultimate goal will be to face down Chinese expansion.The journey to this goal will consist of many small steps, but it requires at least one ‘win’ that will make the world stand up and recognise a new paradigm is unfolding with a resurgent American power. The use of chemical weapons by Assad on Trump's watch offered an excellent starting point. It also allows Trump to push back Russia as Assad's key supporter and enabler. Interestingly, Obama's key policy mistake was in not enforcing the chemical red line. The first time in Syria was an inflection point that encouraged Russia and China to challenge America wherever possible. Correcting this mistake with a strong response to Assad's war crimes is an excellent place to demonstrate a new regime is in power in America. A robust response will enable Trump to negotiate a more constructive, strategic relationship with Putin from a position of respect and strength. This strategy is more likely to be successful with political powers such as Russia.

In addition, action in Syria will also add credibility to Trump's ‘zero tolerance’ of North Korea’s nuclear expansion. Foremost, in Trump's thinking has to be the urgency behind stopping such a madman from gaining nuclear delivery technology that could reach the US mainland. As we discussed in Trump, North Korea and China, the critical path to a peaceful solution is to have China place pressure on its ally to give up its weapons. The only way China would contemplate such a path is if it is made to feel threatened. This could be in the form of a powerful anti-missile defence system ostensibly designed to counter North Korea, but which would significantly degrade the effectiveness of China’s nuclear strategic deterrent. However, an even more powerful lever could be the threat of direct military action against North Korea. American forces would then have to operate inside the exclusion zone that China is attempting to build inside the first and second island chains.

In addition, there would need to be a long-term military build-up on South Korea which is close to the Chinese border. In order for such a pressure point to be effective President Xi needs to believe that Trump is serious. Action in Syria has no doubt been a useful marker on the geopolitical, negotiating table.

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Comments

Dear Friedrich,

History clearly relates that peace only derives from deterrence and deterrence needs to be underpinned by a strong intention.

My studies show that the relationship between social organisations such as empires and nations is far from consensual. Indeed, one of the key themes of BTCH highlighted was how human affairs really worked so we could shift to a more enlightened way of co-existing (please read the section called aspirations on the site).

That being said, we as a race are sadly still firmly in the unconscious phase of human dynamics. Under such conditions, the Darwinistic principals of natural selection of the fittest still prevail as do hierarchical leadership structures across the majority of the nations of the world.

But for that process to change we need an extended period under a more collective leadership style that enfranchises the majority so that they can become more aware, responsible and individualistic.

Whilst America since 9/11 has had a far from perfect track record in its interventions, especially in the middle east, it does represent one of the most relatively benign empires in human history.

For peace to prevail, as the world faces an aggressive Russia, the rise of Islamic militarism and most importantly the expansion of China and if the world is to survive the next decade as commodity prices once more spike and risk catalysing conflict, a strong global policeman in the form of America is vital.

It is my hope that if we survive that commodity price spike without WW3, then post 2028 when those resource pressures abate, we will hopefully have a chance to start to make a fundamental change in human affairs.

In this context, Trump's actions should be viewed as a key step towards a more stable world order. After all, Obama's policies of non-engagement only exacerbated world tensions.

Furthermore, Trump's actions should be interpreted as deriving from an America first policy and without peace across the global and its empire how can prosperity grow?

Kind Regards,

David

From: Tilman Friedrich [mailto:tfriedrich@rfsol.com.na] Sent: 7 April, 2017 16:50 

Dear David,

This is sickening and there is no justification for any country to take the law into its own hands just as not citizen should take the law into his own hands. What do we have the UN and its Security Council for?

This is a war of aggression and not the first one by any means the US has launched in its pursuit of ‘global assertion’ – has it brought peace to the world? Remember Nuremburg where the Allies executed high ranking Germans for their war of aggression and war crimes? The US of course has the audacity to contract out of liability for war crimes with individual countries and has not signed up to the International Criminal Court. That all seems to be fine and justifiable if you think you got the means to bully everyone else.

How sure can you be by the way that the Sarin (all unsubstantiated allegations) was employed by Syria and was not smuggled to Syria from Libya by US agents as I have read? What has this great global hegemon achieved in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on and so forth besides causing directly or indirectly hundreds of thousands of deaths most of them civilian. Pity that you seem to justify such atrocious international behaviour. We need moral superiority in the world but that does not seem to be what you promote?

Seems like everything Trump professed to stand for during his election campaign has turned to the opposite – I really pity the American populace that is deceived from one presidency to the next. If that is democracy it deserves to be buried sooner rather than later!

Kind regards,

Tilman