By all accounts, Friday night’s strikes against the Assad regime’s chemical-weapons facilities were successful — they reduced their targets to rubble, and there were no reported threats to allied forces or equipment in their aftermath. Armchair strategists are quick to point out that the strikes didn’t fit into any broader American Syria strategy. But the chemical-weapons attack of April 7 demonstrated, once again, the Syrian regime’s flagrant disregard for international moral and legal norms. And unlike last April’s retaliatory American strike on aircraft used for chemical-weapons delivery at Shayrat Air Base, Friday’s strikes sought to hit the heart of the regime’s chemical-weapons capabilities, and were coordinated with our oldest and closest allies.
They also marked a departure from Obama-era analysis paralysis in Syria. It was the Obama administration that delayed striking Assad and preventing future chemical-weapons attacks almost five years ago. It was the Obama administration that argued chlorine gas was a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2014, though it was widely known to be used on the Syrian battlefield throughout Obama’s time in office. It was the Obama administration that was caught by strategic surprise when the leadership vacuum left by the United States led the Russians to enter the Syrian fray in the fall of 2015, bringing with them high-tech military equipment for battlefield testing and deployability and bolstering their standing on the world stage. It was the Obama administration that argued a false choice between catastrophic nuclear war and limited strikes on targeted regime elements.
Read the full article at National Review
More from CNAS
PodcastThe DownLink: The U.S. National Space Council is Back in Business
This week U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris convened the Biden Administration’s inaugural National Space Council meeting. It had three agenda items: STEM education, to create ...
By Sarah Mineiro
CommentaryWho’s to Blame for Asia’s Arms Race?
As Beijing has grown stronger, it has also become increasingly belligerent....
By Tom Shugart
CommentaryFor JADC2 to Have a Chance, DoD Needs to Get Serious About Data Standards
We are past the tipping point where information and decision-centric capabilities are more important instruments of war than kinetic weapons....
By Robert O. Work & Billy Fabian
CommentaryThe U.S. Military and the Coming Great-Power Challenge
Simply put, China and Russia had no interest in joining a U.S.-led international order. They had long rejected it. They had only lacked the means to openly contest it....
By Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, Jr.