The attacks that Trump ordered overnight Thursday on the Syrian air base near Khan Sheikhoun happened according to a well-worn script. As in the Balkan model — see the invented Racak massacre and the “humanitarian” NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999 — and in the “style” of the Israeli government, for whose 2009 airstrikes in Gaza we have not stopped counting civilian casualties.
The 59 Tomahawk missiles launched on Syria ended a made-up saga of American weakness. Because America is back. And to disprove it, poor Alan Friedman will have to write at least one more book. They gave you up for lost, America, headed by a president described as pro-Putin, and even anti-NATO, holding firm the strategic interests of appeasement toward Israel and Saudi Arabia but decisive in the fight against ISIS.
The turnabout was sudden. A few days prior to the attack, U.N. Ambassador Haley said Assad’s overthrow “is no longer a priority.” Then immediately after the massacre in Khan Sheikhoun, they changed course, like the one Bush took going to Iraq in 2003: Pentagon chief “Mad Dog” Mattis authorized the act of war without the U.N.’s consent nor authorization from the U.S. Congress, despite the Russian veto to the unilateral condemnation of Assad, and ignoring calls for an independent international investigation.