No legal (domestic or international) argument exists for the Syrian strikes.

The authors are Jack Goldsmith and Oona Hathaway, both lawyers, and they throughly disprove all legal “arguments” for the Syrian strikes presented in the past several days.
Not that concerns for enforcing International law motivated Trump (nor should it) but it is hard to resist the temptation to point out the irony of a state to violate international law in pursuit of enforcing it.
You can read their blog post here.

When Liberals Become Progressives, Much Is Lost

Historical progressivism is an ideology whose American avatars, like Woodrow Wilson, saw progress as the inevitable outcome of human affairs. Of course, liberals and conservatives believe that their policies will result in positive outcomes, too. But it is another thing to say, as American Progressives did, that the contemporary political task was to identify a destination, grip the wheel and depress the accelerator.


The basic premise of liberal politics, by contrast, is the capacity of government to do good, especially in ameliorating economic ills. Nothing structurally impedes compromise between conservatives, who hold that the accumulated wisdom of tradition is a better guide than the hypercharged rationality of the present, and liberals, because both philosophies exist on a spectrum.

The author is By Greg Weiner and you can read the rest here.

Trump and the Syrian attack

In my perspective, do you think the Americans, British and French really care about the regime and that the [attack] yesterday was just to prevent the use of chemical weapons? It was part of it. But the main thing is, there was a hidden message to the Russians that despite your existence and massive victories on the ground, we remain part of the game and we will always be part of the political solution.

That is from Nawar Oliver and other view points can be read here.

I can think of two other reasons for the western military response to the Syrian use of chemical weapons. One is generous to Trump and has to do with the long term view of power. Chemical weapons like those used in Syria are arguably easy to produce. Most accounts I’ve read suggest a masters level of education with a few years of training is all that is needed. The fact that Syria, a country with a GDP of about 2,000, can make them is alarming to the powers that run the world. Chemical weapons are difficult to control and easily dispersed. They are a terrorist’s dream weapon and the west along with other major powers (Russia and China) cooperate and go to great lengths to ensure that they don’t spread. This explains the irrational position that the west will turn a blind eye to the killing of Syrian civilians resulting from conventional weapons but not the use of chemical weapons.

The other reason Trump was motivated was because of the emotional pull of seeing children gasping for air. The same thing happened when Trump ordered the first strike in 2017. Even someone like myself who is highly skeptical of military power solving political issues feels compelled to “act” in response to seeing children dead from being gassed.

Thomas Friedman on Syria

Even more dangerous is that Israel and Iran, at the exact same time, seem to be heading for a High Noon shootout in Syria over Iran’s attempts to turn Syria into a forward air base against Israel, something Israel is vowing to never let happen. This is not mere speculation. In the past few weeks — for the first time ever — Israel and Iran have begun quietly trading blows directly, not through proxies, in Syria.

The rest can be read here.