Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran
US President Donald Trump recently ordered a strike on Syria’s Shayrat air base. The move is a sarcastic reminder of former President Barack Obama’s speeches and decisions. Obama observed the developments of the Syrian crisis in cold blood. He specified red lines and the end of the Syrian president’s jurisdictions, held plenty of meetings, made countless statements and devised several plans; however he did not do anything at all to address the Syrian crisis. At some point, he even mocked statements saying it was America’s responsibility to intervene and said a military operation in Syria will resemble ending an arbitrary conflict in Africa’s jungles.
Prominent American figures voiced surprise of this decline and withdrawal from the Middle East and leaving the region for Russia, Iran and their bloody terrorist militias. America’s intervention was thus limited to specific logistical support in Libya. The US was no longer “an indispensable nation,” as former President Bill Clinton once said. During Obama’s term, the US became “a dispensable nation” as Vali Nasr put it while analyzing Obama’s policies in his book “American Foreign Policy in Retreat.” However will this policy remain in place following Trump’s strategic strike?
The political doctrine – as expressed by the current administration’s rhetoric – prioritizes restoring influence over vital pillars in the Middle East, getting closer to protecting the interests of allies, especially the Gulf countries, curbing Iran’s expansion, and cooperating with moderate countries to fight terrorism and improve economic cooperation. These are the major results from America’s convergence with its allies amid unprecedented disturbances which are mainly due to neglecting the Syrian crisis and to the state of inhibition which has been produced by America’s foreign policy. However, all this was before brave and strong president Donald Trump intervened to put an end to the Syrian regime’ unprecedented brutal atrocities. The Syrian regime wants to test the patience of the new administration and is about to dig its own grave.
The strike’s major result was stirring panic at the heart of the Assad regime. In an article entitled Fearful Assad faces a new life in secret underground bunker published in the British Times daily, Michael Evans wrote: “Impunity has ended for Bashar al-Assad and the family that has ruled Syria with an iron fist since 1970. After the US Tomahawk missile attack, the Syrian leader knows that his life could now be under threat from the Americans, and in Europe prosecutors rounded up tens of millions of pounds of assets belonging to his uncle, Rifaat.” This is the case despite Assad’s stubbornness and attempts to resist the strike by killing innocent civilians and resuming his brutality.
What the world needs from Trump is to be the complete opposite of Obama on all fronts. Handing the region to Iran: Late scholar and writer Fouad Ajami described Obama as the master “of the evil plan” to hand the region to Iran. Obama said the symbols of the Iranian regime are “men with a strategic approach and they are not impulsive. They have a vision and care about their interests and respond to costs and benefits. This does not mean it’s not a religious state that believes in all the ideas which I detest but it’s not North Korea. It’s a big and strong state that considers itself important in the international arena. I don’t think it has a suicidal aim and it can respond to incentives.” Trump and his administration are the opposite of Obama and they think the Iranian regime is the sponsor of terrorism across the world and that it’s the basis of al-Qaeda and the passage of Osama bin Laden and ISIS secretary general.
The strike’s major result was stirring panic at the heart of the Assad regime Ajami thinks Obama made a lot of threats and did not carry out any military decision he intended to execute. He believed Obama would say something at night but back down in the morning thus “allowing American authority and the country’s reputation to be mocked especially when he threatened the Syrian regime of dangerous consequences as punishment for using chemical weapons but he backed down and proposed taking the matter to Congress to authorize military activity against Syria.” Trump only threatened a little.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson did not even propose the military option during the press conference he held before the strike on the Syrian air base. However, few hours later, American missiles struck al-Shayrat air base. This turned back the clock as the region before the strike will not be the same after the strike. Russia’s and Iran’s recent statements reflect the extent of worry as America, the indispensable nation, is back to what it was. It’s the strongest superpower.
America is not just a cinematic town but it’s the homeland of the gist of western values. Without its roles, global order is incomplete. When it isolates itself, the world regresses and becomes troubled. It’s America’s historical and universal destiny to balance all events. All other powers retreat when it deeply gets involved in developments. Veteran politician Henry Kissinger understood the Russians well and deplored Obama for granting them the chance to completely tamper with the security of Syria and the region.
Arabs and Muslims favor America, with its civilization and values that are the “eras’ values,” over other civilizations that are mafia-like and aggressive and that do not have any values worth exporting.
It’s another era and a remarkable transformation for overcoming “the years of isolation.”
[Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqira]