An Intellectual Eats a Chicken Sandwich
Five Things You Need to Read Today
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1. Trump Can't Either Win Or Go Home
President Trump has announced American air strikes against the Assad regime in Syria, in partnership with Britain and France. The airstrikes are for one night only, supposedly targeting the "heart" of Syria's chemical weapons program, though the Department of Defense "acknowledged that the Syrian government most likely retained some ability to again attack its own people with chemical agents." Deterring chemical weapons use seems to be the one and only strategic purpose of the strike: "We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents." So the US and its allies are just serving as enforcers of the Geneva Convention prohibition against chemical weapons.
But this runs us up against the whole "win and go home" dilemma. In wanting to keep our mission in Syria very narrow--so he can authorize a single night of air strikes and declare "mission accomplished"--Trump is avoiding the task of forming the kind of larger, sustained strategy that actually produces results.
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