President Trump wants to punish Bashar Assad’s regime for its alleged role in the latest, murderous chemical weapons attack against Syrian civilians. The temptation is to lash out with more tactical retaliation against military targets implicated in such operations.
If successful, that would convey resolve and impose costs. The trouble is that, like the response itself, the signals thus sent – let alone the effects – are likely to be very short-lived. Assad and his Russian, Iranian, Hezbollah and Turkish partners will discount such attacks, and perhaps even be emboldened by them.
What is clearly required is a broader, more strategic and enduring response. That could be conveyed by three initiatives: First, provide military and political assistance to the Kurds in the region. Second, support Israel as it defends its vital interests – and ours – in Syria. Third, treat Turkey as an ally no more.