Trump was supposed to be an isolationist president. He entered office with a pledge to put “America First” (a motto borrowed from a pressure group in the 1940s that lobbied against US involvement in the Second World War). He criticised President Obama’s infamous “red lines” after 1,429 people died (according to US estimates) in a chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus in 2013.
On Thursday 6 April 2017, Trump’s position on Syria seems to have changed. He ordered US warships in the Mediterranean to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at an airfield in Syria. The strike came in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime that killed more than 80 people in a rebel-held town.
Estimates for the cost of the Syria missile strike are all over the place, from $30 million to $93 million. It’s also unclear how much damage the strike caused – with estimates ranging from 6 planes to up to 20 – but the Syrian military is reportedly still using the airfield to launch bombing runs on rebel positions. Some media outlets suggest that Russia was given advance notice of the strike by the US and that they may have passed on the warning to the Syrian government, providing them with an opportunity to move many of their planes before the raid.
Was Trump right to launch the Syria missile strike? Has he risked escalating the situation in the Middle East? Will the strike discourage further chemical attacks? And how should Europe respond? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!