It looks like more hell is coming to one of the places that has had so much of it over the last seven or eight years: Syria. Bashar al-Assad, along with his Russian and Iranian allies, is ready to attack Idlib, the last major rebel-held enclave in Syria. With three million civilians and tens of thousands rebel fighters, and nowhere to escape to, the outlook is almost beyond imagination. While many seem to like to blame Donald Trump for just about everything that goes wrong in the world, this is not one to blame on President Trump. Also, at this point, unfortunately, I am not sure there is much the United States can, or is at least willing to, do in Syria.
If the United States had wanted to do anything about Syria, we would have had to do it five years ago (or more). But back then, Barack Obama decided it was better for the United States to not do anything. After giving the world the impression he was going to do something about Syria’s use of chemical weapons (he had drawn a red-line against it), he did a 180-degree backward somersault, saying he had accomplished all he needed to do by getting Russia to agree that Syria would dispose of its chemical weapons. Oops. Oh well, not every decision works. This one certainly didn’t. I don’t know if President Obama is still defending this decision, but in 2016, when he was doing farewell interviews, he seemed proud of it. I guess the decision worked in theory; it just didn’t work in the real world. Ask the Syrians. For that matter, ask the countries of Europe, who had to deal with the tide of Syrian and other refugees that started coming in 2015.1