Striking Syria: Obama, Congress and Military Action
President Obama has asked Congress to consider his proposal to use military force against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, in response to the chemical weapons attack on August 21 that has reportedly left nearly 1,500 dead. Does the president’s proposal make sense—legally, strategically and morally? How important is it that Congress approve any action? What happens if there is a divided vote, with the Senate going one way and the House another? What kind of strike is most likely to occur? What are the chances of subsequent escalation, in the first instance by the Assad government or one of its regional allies, and thereafter by the United States and its partners? How can the U.S. strike Assad without inadvertently helping al Qaeda?
On September 5, Brookings scholars Michael Doran, Fiona Hill, Suzanne Maloney, Jeremy Shapiro and Bruce Riedel discussed the issue. Michael O’Hanlon, director of research for the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, moderated the discussion.
President Obama has asked Congress to consider his proposal to use military force against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, in response to the chemical weapons attack on August 21 that has reportedly left nearly 1,500 dead. On September 5, experts in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings discussed the issue.
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[The recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee report on Russian meddling] is a thorough and comprehensive view of Russia’s decades-long political warfare against the West. The lesson learned from Europe, which has borne the brunt of Russian attacks, is that Russia can be deterred but that requires leadership. For that reason, this report would have sent a much stronger message to the Trump administration if it had Republican support. As is, it is an urgent warning and a call to action, but it may fall on deaf ears.
It’s the first time, maybe in history, key advisers have gone into the administration to stop the president, not to enable him.