Hawks accused Obama of facilitating Assad’s brutality by standing aside. But it was not until Trump arrived that this nerve gas attack occurred. Maybe Assad felt emboldened after the administration indicated his regime is “a political reality that we have to accept,” as press secretary Sean Spicer said March 31. In that case, Trump is not compensating for Obama’s mistakes so much as his own.
Having opposed President Obama’s initiative to punish Assad following that attack, Donald Trump clearly has no idea what to do now that his missiles have landed in Syria. Nor do Congressional Republicans, whose enthusiastic support for Trump’s action today rings hollow for anyone who remembers how they rejected Obama’s request to authorize military force in 2013.
Trump faces a different situation than Obama did in 2013. The Syrian government has consolidated its battlefield gains. The rebels, led by Al-Qaeda and supported heavily by the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, are in retreat. Syria’s allies, Iran and Russia, are not budging. Russia is defending Syria’s action, not very convincingly.
Trump ordered the air strikes just a day after he pointed the finger at Assad for this week’s chemical attack, which killed at least 70 people, many of them children, in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun. The Syrian government has denied it was behind the attack.
Trump appeared to have opted for measured and targeted air strikes instead of a full-blown assault on Assad’s forces and installations.
In a shift seen as a victory for National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, the president removed his chief strategist, former Breitbart publisher Steve Bannon, from the National Security Council principals’ committee. From that powerful post, Bannon wielded substantive influence over critical policy issues, despite his lack of experience and qualifications.
Fighting inside Syria continues with grave implications for its population. Gains by the Syrian Arab Army, the government’s force, and its proxies had been swift in the past few months. These forces seized Aleppo and opened a corridor all the way down to Damascus, as well as taking Palmyra from ISIS and other towns in southern Syria.
This is the old ‘guns vs. butter’ scenario taught to young students in elementary economics classes. If economics is a matter of choices over scare resources, and if budgets are a way to project your values, then Trump has made his views clear – guns matter more than butter.
Canadian police said on Monday they had bolstered their presence at the Quebec border and that border authorities had created a temporary refugee center to process a growing number of asylum seekers crossing from the United States. Last month, 452 people made claims in Quebec compared with 137 in January 2016, the agency said.
“Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound,” former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt wrote on Twitter. Other Swedes mocked Trump by posting pictures of reindeer, meatballs, and people assembling IKEA furniture.
It’s heartening, amid the wasteland of cynicism that our politics has become, to see church leaders going out on a limb, challenging not only Trump but all Christians in our body politic to attend to a central call of their faith — to serve the suffering — even though it involves sacrifice and risk.
People of faith have been on the front lines of refugee resettlement for decades, and they are both furious and disheartened that President Trump has halted the U.S. program. Instead of collecting housewares and making welcome signs, they are now bracing for a fight against a former ally: the U.S. government.
The Syrian government has secretly executed up to 13,000 prisoners in mass hangings and carried out systematic torture, according to Amnesty International. The prisoners, who included former military personnel suspected of disloyalty and people involved in unrest, underwent sham trials before military courts and were sometimes forced to make confessions under torture, Amnesty said.
The destructive toll of Donald Trump’s presidency is beginning to emerge, foreshadowing what’s likely to come as the White House and congressional Republicans begin to reverse, repeal, and replace federal laws and regulations. While Trump’s red-state supporters may be cheering now, they’ll soon feel the consequences.
You went through the legal channels, faced all the vetting and then—because of time—fell into a trench. You were reduced to your passport, and since it is hated, you were hated. One U.S. agency confounds another. This is chaos. Trump is not draining the swamp, he is muddying the waters.
The states of Washington and Minnesota are together asking a judge to suspend the entire policy nationwide, which would represent the broadest ruling to date against Trump’s directive. Should the judge rule that Washington and Minnesota have legal standing to sue, it could help Democratic attorneys general take on Trump in court on issues beyond immigration.
Trump’s ban created predictable chaos around the world. Watching the stranded travelers and bewildered families, I kept wishing I could apologize to those whose lives, careers, and plans were thrown into needless turmoil because a minority of American voters chose to invest a fear-mongering man-baby with the awesome powers of the presidency.
Muslim-American women were at the forefront of a peaceful resistance movement over the weekend protesting Trump’s executive order. Women and girls stand to be particularly affected by the executive order temporarily banning all refugees as well as all travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries, and indefinitely banning Syrian refugees.
Banning immigration from seven majority Muslim countries and selectively admitting Christians is a bad idea for many moral and legal reasons. History shows that humiliating national or religious groups on the world stage by restricting their entry makes it harder to keep our allies. It can also create new enemies, which may put the U.S. at risk.
Donald Trump’s order was intended to create chaos, to generate fear among immigrants, and to send a message. Loud and clear it rang: The Trump administration will pontificate about terrorism and national security, but it is intentionally targeting Muslims. No wonder all hell broke loose.
There is a reason officers who know what they are talking about do not use the expression “radical Islam.” It tars an entire faith and it contributes to creating the religious war Trump fears. The Muslim ban will make us less safe; worse, it erodes our democracy and contributes to making us a fear-and-hate-filled, divided nation at war with the world and progressively ourselves.
The relaxed reaction among the kind of voters who drove Trump’s historic upset victory — working-class residents of Midwest and the South — provided a striking contrast to the uproar that has gripped major coastal cities, where thousands of protesters flocked to airports where immigrants had been detained.
“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” President Trump said in a statement on Sunday. “This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order.”
Trump’s decree targeting sanctuary cities comes amid concerns that already-existing sanctuary cities and towns were not doing enough to protect their residents under the Obama administration, which oversaw an unprecedented number of deportations and erected family immigrant detention centers that continue to imprison children with their mothers.
In Germany, which has taken in large numbers of people fleeing the Syrian civil war, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the global fight against terrorism was no excuse for the measures and “does not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion,” her spokesman said.
This so-called immigration ban is the first major legislative step in Trump’s alienation narrative, the beginning of the “us” versus “them.” We said “never again” after the Holocaust; we would help people fleeing persecution. With one signature, Trump has obliterated one of our country’s most virtuous tenets.