At The National Interest, Cato Institute senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies, Ted Galen Carpenter, writes that America has no interests at stake in Syria that warrant risking a nuclear war with Russia. He is correct, and points to the inconclusive evidence of any chemical attack by the Assad regime as further reason for skepticism concerning the recent missile strikes in Syria. He writes (abridged):
The latest chemical-weapons incident in Syria has triggered new demands for U.S. air and missile strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s forces. President Trump tweeted that “missiles will be coming to Syria,” despite Moscow’s vehement opposition to such raids. It was especially worrisome that Russian military leaders issued an explicit threat to attack U.S. forces if Russian troops were endangered. The possibility of a U.S.-Russia confrontation alone should induce maximum caution on the part of U.S. policymakers. America has no interests at stake in Syria that warrant risking an armed clash with a nuclear power.
Beyond that consideration, and the reality that the president has no constitutional authority without a congressional declaration of war to order a military assault on a country that has not attacked the United States, there are ample reasons to question whether Assad is even the guilty party for the chemical attack. Although assumptions about Assad’s guilt may be true, they are hardly indisputable.
When assessing any incident (or policy), the first question wise investigators ask is “cui bono?”—who benefits? Unfortunately, neither U.S. officials nor most members of the media bother to ask that question. If they did, considerable suspicion would fall on rebel forces for the latest incident as well as the 2013 and 2017 attacks. That increasingly beleaguered faction is facing the growing prospect of total defeat. The Syrian insurgents have every motive in the world to get the United States to escalate its military involvement on their behalf.
The most reasonable conclusion is that the evidence is mixed and inconclusive. Although the Assad government may be the guilty party, the possibility of false-flag operations from ISIS cannot, and should not, be dismissed.
Above all, participants in the policy debate should cease their smears that anyone who dares even to raise questions about Assad’s guilt regarding such war crimes is a “conspiracy theorist” whose arguments should be dismissed summarily. Fox News host Tucker Carlson is the latest target.
Read more here.