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Syria strikes not a wise trump for Trump

By Zhu Ping | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-14 12:22
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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a televised statement at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, April 13, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

Abrupt explosions rocked Damascus early Saturday, which rubbed salt on the wounds of the capital of war-torn Syria. This latest move, which suddenly intensified tensions, came as a result of US President Donald Trump's order on Friday to launch military strikes in Syria.

The reason -- the Syrian government forces used chemical weapons against civilians, and the US and its allies have to deter Syrian President Bashar Assad from doing it again.

People may have a sense of déjà vu when the US stands on moral high ground to "protect another country's civilians". On March 20, 2003, the US and its little brother launched the Iraq War with the excuse that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Causing an estimated 460,000 casualties, the Iraq War did nothing good except for raising the approval ratings of then US president George W. Bush. Along with the wars in Afghanistan and Libya, the US and its allies successfully left more than 5.5 million people homeless, and created chaos and a political vacuum which eventually paved the way for extremists to establish the Islamic State, while European friends swallowed the bitter result of having refugees come in.

More ridiculously, by the time US combat troops withdrew from Iraq in 2010, the US troops hadn't found any evidence of Iraq's stockpile of weapons of massive destruction. And this time, though no joint investigation has been carried out, the US has launched airstrikes unilaterally without UN authorization.

Nevertheless, airstrikes on another country in the name of "protecting its civilians" is always a card to gain more support, if US presidents are mudded in domestic troubles.

While Trump's personal attorney has been under criminal investigation, the president himself faces strong opposition from businesses and farmers on his plan to ignite a trade war with China, and the fight between the president and his aides has forced about 20 senior officials to leave office. No wonder Trump would cling to the straw of sudden airstrikes on Syria.

But the reckless military move may evolve into, as a Chinese saying goes, "quenching thirst with poison". The strikes on Syria seem to be a good trump for Trump to bail himself out of domestic woes by deviating people’s attention in the US.

However, strikes in the name of protecting Syrian civilians will only make the Syrian people suffer more, exposing the US image as a peace breaker in Middle East. And the looming new "Cold War" between the US and Russia may escalate into military conflicts on their chessboard of Syria, as Russia announced on Saturday that its security has been "severely threatened".

The strikes may temporarily raise approval ratings for President Trump, but in the long run, it may establish the US image as a hegemon defying international law, and provide ammunition to those who doubt whether the US leadership is qualified.

Therefore it's shortsighted for the US to achieve gains at the cost of other's pains. The strikes on Syria are not a wise trump for Trump.

The author is a writer with China Daily

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