U.S. President Donald Trump expressed his anger over the Syria attack, saying that it “crossed a lot of lines for me,” although he did not elaborate on any action his administration will take.
He made his comments at a press conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan which was highlighted by the President’s condemnation of the “heinous actions”. At least 100 people have been killed as a result of the attacks.
One journalist posed a question to Trump, asking whether the attack had crossed the line for him. This was in reference to former President Barack Obama’s 2012 threat that using chemical weapons would imply that for his administration.
“It crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal — people were shocked to hear what gas it was — that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line, many, many lines,” he said.
Red Line Crossed
Ex-President Barack Obama drew a red line back in 2013 after Mr. Assad’s forces used a poisonous gas. He only issued threat but never took any affirmative action, a decision seen to have propelled the current situation. It is estimated that the death toll has exceeded the 100 mark previously given.
Syria is one of the countries in addition to Iran and North Korea where Mr. Trump had threatened that America would forcedly enter. In all these cases, he didn’t give an explanation on how he would go about the matter, maintaining that there was need for surprise. However, some analysts feel that his fledging administration does have the capacity to deal with Middle East and Asia threats.
“I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or the other, but I’m certainly not going to be telling you,” he said standing alongside King Abdullah II.
American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, issued a warning that the U.S. may consider taking unilateral action if the UN Security Council dilly dallies in responding to the most recent Syria atrocity. A policy could be shifted to include airstrikes that the Obama administration had rejected.
Trump’s stern warning without giving a clear picture of the planned actions would paint the picture of a leader so eager to appear as a no nonsense person. He would want to be seen as more masculine than his predecessor but still grappling with the same problems Obama faced.
“It is usually better to threaten unspecific consequences until you are at a more advanced stage of planning,” said Walter Russell Mead, a foreign policy expert at Bard College.
Challenges to overcome
Trump’s decision on Syria or the Middle East in general is complicated by recent upheaval in his administration. We recently witnessed an abrupt removal of Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist at the National Security Council senior policy panel.
The President is scheduled to conduct a meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in Florida where he will seek Chinese support to put more pressure on North Korea.
Donald Trump considers the North a big problem, especially after their persistent testing of missiles.