In the wake of President Trump’s missile strikes in Syria, many observers are alarmed over the possibility of the United States being involved in another full-blown war. However, the Trump Administration is indicating that this strike is more of an isolated incident than a substantiative change of policy.
“I would not in any way attempt to extrapolate that to a change in our policy or posture relative to our military activities in Syria today. There has been no change in that status,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. “I think it does demonstrate that President Trump is willing to act when governments and actors cross the line and cross the line on violating commitments they’ve made and cross the line in the most heinous of ways.”
Just last week, Tillerson indicated that regime change is no longer the official policy regarding Syria, where embattled President Bashar Al-Assad is fighting a civil war against ISIS and other Islamist factions. Footage of chemical attacks allegedly committed by Assad that were released to the press has put regime change on the table with Trump possibly considering serious military escalation.
This had led Tillerson to claim that a coalition is being developed to dispose of Assad, similar to what occurred in Libya and Iraq. “With the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people,” Tillerson said during the interim period between the Syrian chemical attack and the U.S. retaliatory strike.
Tillerson has apparently walked back those sentiments after the bombing. Russia was alerted of the bombing in advance, and it remains to be seen how this attack will impact the already tenuous diplomatic relations between the nations. Russia is a key ally of Syria in the region, and President Vladimir Putin has cast doubt on Assad’s role in the chemical attacks.