Following Trump’s strike on Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson went on ABC’s This Week and admitted to host George Stephanopoulos that Trump did not intend to actually cause any damage to Assad.
When asked by Stephanopoulos about the removal of Assad from power, Tillerson said:
Once we can eliminate the battle against ISIS, conclude that and it is going quite well, then we hope to turn our attention to cease fire agreements between the regime and opposition forces. In that regard, we are hopeful that we can work with Russia and use their influence to achieve areas of stabilization throughout Syria… we believe the Syrian people will ultimately be able to decide the fate of Bashar al-Assad.
Stephanopoulos pressed Tillerson, asking then if engaging in that diplomatic process would require greater military force, to which Tillerson responded:
Well, as you know, George, the situation in Syria relative to the battlefield is quite complex because there are multiple engagements under way. As I said, we have the war to defeat ISIS in which many of those battle plans are being coordinated between the US, its coalition agreements, Turkey, some of the Syrian opposition and others and it is being coordinated somewhat with the Syrian regime and the Russian forces to put pressure on ISIS to eliminate them.
In other words, by virtue of working with the “Syrian regime and the Russian forces” to eliminate ISIS, Trump had no intention of destroying Assad’s forces. Instead, his attack was a sham intended only to flex his muscles for the visiting Chinese President and an act of desperation to salvage his rock-bottom approval ratings.
Here’s a tweet from Trump himself explaining the psychology behind this exact strategy as it related to President Obama:
Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2012
Perhaps if Trump had chosen an experienced diplomat instead of a CEO of a multinational oil conglomerate as Secretary of State, his wasteful and ineffective bombing campaign would not have been so casually exposed.
Watch the entire exchange below:
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.