Jestin wrote:Bored on a Saturday so I'll take a stab in the hope that the request for info is genuine.
Spoiler: given who was asking, it wasn't a genuine request and it's pretty obviously a bullshit premise to begin with. We're not "going to war with Russia" and, like the attacks you mentioned last year, we likely didn't do anything much more effective than bombing airfields that were operational 24 hours later because Syrian forces had 48 hours to move themselves and whatever they wanted to Russian bases.
Whichever theory you subscribe to, it seems somewhat irrelevant who is in office. Obama did basically the same thing after Syria repeatedly crossed his "red line".
I don't believe that's entirely accurate. The "red line" statement was in 2012. After the Ghouta chemical attacks in 2013, Obama went to Congress and requested authorization for military intervention, which was not granted, so they instead negotiated with the Russians and Assad to remove 1,300 tons of chemical agents from Syria. The Obama airstrikes in Syria were a full year later (after Foley, Sotloff, and Haines were murdered), targeted ISIS, and didn't have so much to do with the Assad regime and the chemical weapons red line. It also came after Congress approved Obama's plan to arm/train Syrian rebels in addition to the airstrikes in coordination with the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Jordan in addition to the EU coalition forces.
The criticism of Obama here, with regards to the red line, is that he knew the Republican Congress was going to not support military action (I don't think your 'irrelevant who is in office' thing really applies to them
)and decided to follow due process on Congressional authorization for that reason.
I was pretty critical at the time, but I think his reticence is sort of vindicated based on how Syria has developed in the past year and a half. As you sort of alluded to, it's become pretty clear since the air strikes last year that any attack on the proxy regime of Assad itself is a token waste of resources until the issue of Russia is addressed.