On Friday April 7th, President Trump ordered a U.S. cruise missile strike on an air base in Syria, in response to Syrian dictator’s Bashar al Assad’s chemical weapon s attack on innocent civilians in his own country. U.S. intelligence indicated that the chemical attack originated from the air base struck by 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs), launched by two U.S. Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea.
The principal questions raised in connection with the U.S. strike are: (1) whether the strike was a justifiable use of U.S. military power; and (2) what the implications of the strike are for the situation in Syria, the Middle East, North Korea, and relations with Russia and China.
Was the U.S. strike justified? The short answer is “yes.” The recent use of chemical weapons by Bashar al Assad is no less than the third use of such weapons by Assad since 2013. The use of these weapons violates a treaty signed by Assad, the international convention against the use of such weapons, and the standards of armed conflict respected by most countries in the world.
President Trump, acting on solid U.S. intelligence determined that it was in the U.S. national interests to forcefully and quickly respond to this atrocity, with an appropriate military attack, with the primary objective of deterring any future use of chemical weapons by the Syrian dictator.
Why was the president truly moved to act forcibly? After seeing the photographs of innocent men, women, and children, including as the president said, “little babies,” killed and suffering from the attack, the president’s moral conscience compelled him to act. Although it may be politically incorrect to acknowledge in much of today’s American culture, the fact is that America has, and retains, a general moral conscience that is rooted in the principles of Christianity. Almighty God has charged the governing authority, that is, the state, with a duty to protect innocent life.
The United States throughout its short history, though not always acting forcibly to deter and right injustices in the world, has nonetheless done so repeatedly in circumstances that arouse the nation’s moral conscience. Examples would include action in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Somalia, during the 1990s, when the U.S. used military force to quell genocide and starvation, respectively.
The fact of the matter is that as long as the influence of Christianity remains in this land, America will always have the privilege and burden of a collective morale conscience. As Andrew Jackson declared, “The Bible is the rock on which this republic rest;” and that rock the Son of God.
The United States is the most blessed nation the world has ever known; and with great blessings comes great responsibility. As the Scripture states,” From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.” (Luk 12: 48 NASB)
No sensible person wants to use force against another, any more than God desires to rain down wrath upon mankind. God-fearing people, which most Americans are, prefer to love their neighbor; and to treat others as they wish to be treated. Notwithstanding, government in this fallen world does not bear the sword for nothing; and in the case of a heinous act by a government against innocent people, either internally or externally, governments in the world, collectively or unilaterally, must act to protect innocent life when they have the means, and can reasonably, do so. In the present case, the President, and his advisers, correctly determined that the United States had the means, and could reasonably act in Syria, to deter any future loss of life by virtue of the use of chemical weapons by a murderous dictator.
It must be observed, that most of the world community supports the U.S. action in Syria. This was to be expected, given that whether or not nations have a Christian influence, no nation can escape the sense of justice corresponding to the God of Scripture’s moral absolutes. In fact, any government that supports the deliberate taking of innocent life is a nation at war with Almighty God; and He has demonstrated throughout world history, that no nation can prevail against Him. As the Scripture plainly says, “He removes kings, and establishes kings.” (Dan 2:21)
So what are the implications of the U.S. military strike on the situation in Syria, the Middle East, North Korea, and for relations with Russia and China? In short, the implications are favorable.
It is unlikely that Bashar al Assad will use chemical weapons again. The Middle East has been demonstrably shown that the U.S. is now reengaged in the region; and this will lead to increased stability, and regional security. Further, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is now on notice that the new U.S. president will use force to deter threats and aggression when necessary; a dramatic shift in posture and policy from the previous administration.
Russian president Vladimir Putin will be forced to reassess his Russian expansionist policy, as he now realizes that President Trump will act to protect U.S. national and Western interests, and use military force to do so, if necessary. Chinese president Xi Jinping now understands with clarity, that it must act to halt the further development of its friend’s, North Korea’s, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program; or risk forceful intervention by the United States and its allies to achieve that end.
All factors considered, President Trump’s decision was just and appropriate, and will lead to greater stability in the Middle East, and elsewhere around the world.
By Allen Sutton