YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As Thursday night’s bombing of a Syrian airfield by U.S. Navy warships is discussed at the United Nations, on Capitol Hill, and even at a “Model UN” event at Youngstown State, local political experts seem to agree action had to be taken.
Video images show the widespread damage after the U.S. fired dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles.
“We have pretty much put them on notice that any use of chemical weapons can expect a greater response,” said Dr. David Porter, a political science professor at YSU. “But I also think, perhaps more importantly, that our political position has changed and we’re clearly on the “Assad has to go” policy.”
This week, dozens — including women and small children — were killed in a Syrian attack using sarin gas. U.S. officials believe the government of Syrian president Basher Al-Assad was behind it — crossing a line in the process.
“You’re letting the genie out of the bag and the international community has decided, including the United States, that these weapons are off the table. They’re off limits,” said YSU Political Science Chair Dr. Paul Sracic.
Some are questioning why President Trump has seemingly changed his mind about getting involved in Syria’s internal problems after widely criticizing then President Obama several years ago.
Porter thinks the new commander-In-chief now has greater access to images coming out of that region than he did before he was elected.
“They are far, far more graphic and far more upsetting than anything that’s going to be on Channel 27,” Porter said. “That, I think, may have changed his mind or moved his opinion.”
But what happens next?
Some wonder if the bombings continue, will Assad retaliate?
“If he sees this, basically, as a threat, finally, to his own regime and if he has nothing to lose, he may well turn against Americans, Kurds, or Turks and in some way use these weapons,” said YSU political science professor Keith Lepak.
In the meantime, Sracic believes the bombing sends a positive message to American allies — that the president will act quickly.
“I think that’s what the allies have learned. That Trump is going to follow through as president, this is not just going to be about talking,” he said.
Already, Syria and Russia have condemned the bombing as a violation of international law but many of America’s allies are praising Trump’s quick response. Many U.S. lawmakers, including most from this area, also praised the decision.