Candice Malcolm: Trump makes the world safer in reasserting power in Syria


(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

America is back. 

With all his flaws, Trump is reasserting American strength and power on the world stage – and the world will be safer and more secure because of it. 

In response to another atrocity in Syria this week – an apparent sarin gas attack on civilians in Khan Shaykhun, constituting a blatant war crime – Trump wasted no time in unleashing a furious response.

The U.S. military launched 59 tomahawk missiles, striking Syrian military air-bases and wiping out the capacity for future attacks. 

History is repeating itself in Syria, and Trump is making up for Obama’s strategic missteps. 

Five years ago, Obama bungled his response to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. In the midst of the Arab Spring uprising across the region, and in light of American support for protesters in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, Obama chose to appease the Syrian dictator.

In a pivotal moment in Obama’s foreign policy tenure, he infamously drew a “red line” over the use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2012. Obama warned that if Assad crossed that line – if chemical weapons were used – then America would wage a military intervention.

Well, Assad tested Obama. He responded in August 2013 by dropping sarin gas bombs onto a rebel neighbourhood in Damascus, killing at least a thousand civilians. 

Hitler used sarin gas to murder Jews during the Holocaust. And now, 70 years later, Assad is following in his footsteps and using chemical weapons to torture and kill Syrians in the most inhumane way imaginable. 

And rather than responding to this ghastly crime with force and following through on this threat of intervention, Obama’s bluff was exposed; his impotent response, or lack thereof, set the stage for a new era of global instability. 

As my colleague Anthony Furey points out in his column, without America the Sherriff to ensure global order, there was a domino effect and the world’s most dangerous and nefarious actors became emboldened and empowered. 

The world is far less safe, less stable than it was prior to Obama’s blunder.   

And according to new information revealed in Wall Street Journal correspondent Jay Solomon’s book The Iran Wars, there was more to this decision than meets the eye.

In 2013, as Obama was working towards his legacy nuclear deal with Iran, Iranian officials bluntly told American negotiators that the nuclear talks “would be halted if the United States went ahead with its attack on Assad.” 

Iran, which supports and funds the military dictatorship in Syria, considered an attack on Syria as an attack on Iran. 

And so, Obama cowered – choosing to make back room deals with our enemies and allow the civil war in Syria to wage on.  

This time around, things are different. Trump is making good on Obama’s threat, and finally enforcing the “red line” in Syria.

When Assad gassed thousands of his own civilians, Obama was missing in action. When Assad repeated this crime in 2017, Trump did the humane thing and came to the rescue. 

He did to Assad in one night what Obama failed to do in five years. 

When the Nazis were committing genocide against the Jews in the Second World War, America came to the rescue. After initial hesitancy over getting tangled in complicated and bloody foreign conflict, America...(READ MORE)