The Dangers of a Shortsighted Syria Strategy

Recently, President Trump and the leaders of France and the United Kingdom launched a series of airstrikes against three Syrian targets. The attacks were a coordinated response to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s suspected chemical attack on civilians in the town of Douma, just east of the Syrian capital of Damascus. Experts from all backgrounds and political persuasions have given their opinion. Some have praised the administration for taking action when the United Nations failed to act, while others blasted the President for going back on campaign promises yet again, committing expensive American firepower to a war half a world away. Unfortunately, arguably the most important voice in this conversation has remained eerily silent: the United States Congress. As the voice of the American people, it should be congress’ highest priority to tackle these issues head on — especially when the President is seemingly incapable of creating a long-term strategy.

Regardless of where you stand on the strikes, it’s frightening that President Trump has failed to present any semblance of a long-term plan for U.S. involvement in Syria.

Instead of working with experienced foreign policy professionals to craft a multi-faceted approach to the issue (one that involves human rights, Russia, Iran, and a host of other complex international components), President Trump has relied on tired tactics: vague statements, misleading tweets, and short-sighted policy.

It’s hard to know whether this type of limited surgical strike will deter Assad’s government in the way it’s supporters have hoped. What we do know, however, is that military engagement in the Middle East without a comprehensive, long-term strategy is a recipe for disaster. Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan — there’s no shortage of examples when it comes to the dangers posed by reckless American foreign policy.

With stakes this high, Congress’ — and U.S. Representative Jim Jordan’s — silence is all the more troubling. Jordan has chosen to side-step the issue altogether, stating only that “Something of this magnitude should be debated.” If that’s the case, Mr. Jordan, then why have you remained silent in Congress? As a member of the majority, you have the ability, not to mention the responsibility, to demand debate on issues like this one that are so critical to U.S. national security. Again and again, we’ve seen leaders in Washington like Jordan and President Trump choose the politically expedient option, divesting themselves of their responsibilities as elected officials in exchange for the preservation of their political power.

Ohioan’s deserve an elected representative who is willing to ask the tough questions. With issues this complex and stakes this high, we must demand more transparent policy making from Washington. As your Congresswoman, I pledge to never back down from the most challenging issues. I promise to call for Congressional approval of the most important military and foreign policy decisions to ensure that the federal government is acting on behalf of the citizens that it serves.

Looking forward,

Janet

Janet GarrettComment