Last week after Assad continued to be a walking pile of garbage and gassed a whole bunch more of his people, we fired 59 cruise missiles at an air base.
Many of my friends who are Trump supporters have touted this as Trump getting tough on Assad.
The question I pose to them is this. What now?
Simply firing a $100M worth of cruise missiles isn't going to fix the problem. Nor does it appear those missiles significantly degraded his capacity to continue to wage war.
It would appear that we have a number of choices to make now.
1. We full out destroy Assad's air force. This would keep him from gassing/bombing his own people... but it would also prevent him from going after ISIS. So would we be helping ISIS by doing this?
2. We seriously escalate the air campaign against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria and then do step #1. However, since their aren't nice neat camps just flying the black flag, their are going to be civilian casualties, etc.
3. We attempt to cut the head off the snake and take Assad out of the picture. This gets complicated because we only have to look at the mad max conditions of large swaths of Libya to see what that might turn into.
At the end of the day, we need to achieve the goal of outing Assad without Syria turning into either an Iranian theocracy, An Islamic caliphate or a post apocalypse wasteland.
The problem is, we have a number of warring factions on the ground that are actively trying for the first two and have achieved the third for chunks of Syria.
This is a messy proxy war between Iran / Iraq / Saudia Arabia / Turkey / etc. I'm sure they're more groups involved, I just don't know who.
How much of our blood and treasure are we willing to expend? Up until he gassed a bunch of children, it was zero.