If you’ve been following the presidential campaign, you know that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has the slightest idea of what’s going on in Syria. Clinton thinks ratcheting up U.S. military action there will turn the country into a thriving democracy, just the way things worked out in Iraq and Libya.
Trump is confused about Syria, like just about everything else. Here’s what he said during the second debate.
Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran who she made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a powerful nation and a rich nation, very quickly, very, very quickly. I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria, they had a chance, and that was the line.
Someone just sent to my attention this guide to Syria and U.S. policy written last March by Chetan Hebbale, who at the time was a 22-year-old senior at the University of Georgia, who was double majoring in Microbiology and Economics. I’m not a Syria expert but this looks to be better informed than anything coming out of either of the presidential campaigns, think tanks or the media.
Hebbale close with “Ten Questions For the People Running To Be President.” Clearly if a third debate must be held, this guy should the moderator.
1. Will you accept an end to the Syrian conflict which sees Bashar al-Assad stay in power?
2. If Assad must step down, do you have an idea of who you would like to see replace him?
3. If you decide that diplomacy is no longer a feasible solution in Syria, how would you increase U.S. efforts to counter the Assad regime directly? Would you continue the the CIA train & equip program for vetted “moderate” rebel groups or would you authorize airstrikes against Assad regime targets?
4. Does the United States recognize the Syrian rebel group Jabhat Fateh-al Sham as distinct from Al Qaeda, or will it become listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and not receive any U.S. support ?
5. If your administration wanted to increase the scope of U.S. involvement in the fight against Assad or ISIS, would it be subject to Congressional approval?
6. What will your administration do about Turkey’s antagonism with U.S.-backed Kurdish forces? Will the U.S. continue relying on the Kurdish military to fight ISIS?
7. Would you support an independent Kurdish initiative with the Kurds retaining autonomous territory in Syria?
8. Would you support the enforcement of a No-Fly Zone over parts of Syria? What would be the penalty for violating the No-Fly Zone and who would enforce it?
9. Would you put U.S. ground troops in Syria to fight ISIS, if so how many?
10. Who would you nominate as your Secretary of State?