The Trump administration has given a variety of mixed messages regarding foreign affairs, with different cabinet members and key advisors contradicting each other on an almost daily basis. However, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has remained constantly in favor of normalizing Russian relations and de-escalating tensions with Syria. He made remarks on Monday that should make all non-interventionists breathe a sigh of relief.
Tillerson assured UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that U.S. policy in Syria would be reduced to “limited tactical goals” and that U.S. forces would not jeopardize the regime of embattled President Bashar al-Assad. Additionally, Tillerson handed off any responsibility for the Syrian government by saying that the fate of Assad is “now up to Russia.”
Previously, the Trump administration bombed the Idlib province in Syria after a chemical weapons attack resulted in nearly 100 deaths. The attack was widely attributed by western intelligence as the work of Assad, although very little evidence was presented to the public to support that conclusion.
In late June, the Trump administration threatened Assad yet again against the use of chemical weapons. No proof was ever offered as to why they felt Assad was going to use these weapons, and the administration credited their own threat for preventing the attack that was going to take place. Despite this bluster, it appears that the Trump administration is finally circling back to the original policy proposal that Trump espoused from the campaign trail all last year.
“We’re giving all this money and all of this equipment to people we have no idea who they are,” Trump said in an interview on CBS This Morning from Feb. 2016. “They’re probably worse than Assad… I think, frankly, you get rid of Assad or you knock out that government, who is going to take over, the people that we’re backing? Then you’re going to have [something] like Libya.
Time will tell if the Trump administration has the focus and coherence to remain with their stated policy, or if the administration succumbs to the pressures of the Deep State that desperately wants U.S. military escalation in Syria.