In an interview with the New York Post, President Trump clarified his position on foreign policy, saying that “we’re not going into Syria.”
“Our policy is the same — it hasn’t changed,” he said. “We’re not going into Syria.”
He said that the missile strike on the Shayrat Airbase – which killed 14 people, including 9 civilians – was an “act of humanity,” presumably to punish Assad for allegedly killing scores of his own people, including children.
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Not only was it an ‘act of humanity,’ it didn’t have anything to do with trying to oust the Syrian President. Trump said their primary focus is not regime change, but on eradicating ISIS. “Our big mission is getting rid of ISIS,” he said. “That’s where it’s always been.”
He added, “But when you see kids choking to death, you watch their lungs burning out, we had to hit him and hit him hard.”
From the New York Post:
“It’s very tough to give that final go-ahead when you know you’re talking about human life,” he said. “We went back and forth, and also back and forth about severity. We could have gone bigger in terms of targets and more of them, but we thought this would be the appropriate first shot.”
Later, he added, “We hope he won’t do any more gassing.”
The interview was scheduled to last 15 minutes, but ran nearly twice as long. Throughout, the president was gracious, energized and focused. He answered every question, and invited me to ask more as aides tried to get him to his next appointment. So I did.
How seriously does he take the threats from Russia, and does he think there is still a possibility for cooperation in the region with Vladimir Putin?
“We’re not exactly on the same wavelength with Russia, to put it mildly,” Trump answered. “Putin must see what a barbarian this guy is, and it’s a very bad symbol for Russia with this guy gassing children and using barrel bombs.”
Interestingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin predicted that there’d be more gas attacks which would be blamed on Assad to provide an adequate pretext for more U.S. attacks on the country. “We have information that a similar provocation is being prepared,” Putin said, “in other parts of Syria including in the southern Damascus suburbs where they are planning to again plant some substance and accuse the Syrian authorities of using (chemical weapons).”
Reuters pointed out that Putin is ‘urgently asking’ for the chemical weapons watchdog the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to investigate the incident that elicited the U.S.’s missile response.
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