Trump’s strike and the demise of a hesitant Obama policy

Turki Aldakhil
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The world has been observing controversial president Donald Trump’s behavior ever since he assumed the presidency. Although celebrities, commentators and political analysts did not take him seriously, he has proved he is a strong man with a strong administration who manages thorny issues with political acumen. More importantly, Trump has returned to traditional American values.

After the US strike on the Syria’s al-Shayrat air base, the usual American terms, such as maintaining national security and America’s strategic interests and defending societies against tyrants, surfaced again. The policy of intervention is part of America’s policies. Regardless of whether the US intervenes to protect its interests or to maintain global security, it is the most capable at controlling political currents considering its power and values.


In the mid-20th century, American intervention was based on protecting allies against any communist tide. In his famous 1957 speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against subjecting allies in the Middle East to any communist aggression and vowed to directly use armed forces to deter any aggression.

American forces intervened in Lebanon in 1958 to reduce tension. Amid this momentum of Eisenhower’s direct historical and defensive principles, late Saudi King Saud bin Abdulaziz visited Washington on June 30, 1957. In his book King Saud – The Orient at the time of Transformations – French historian Jacques Benoist-Méchin said the visit came after the failure of the tripartite aggression against Egypt and which resulted in “the demise of British control over the region’s policies.”

He writes that France began to confront the Algerian revolution and the Soviet Union began to support Arab countries. Discussions were on to end the vacuum in the region especially amid the Soviet expansion and its support of one party at the expense of another. One of the visit’s results was America’s vow to defend allies and interests. America’s principles thus led to its fruitful intervention to liberate Kuwait in 1990.

Trump’s strike in Syria, regardless of its influence and how big or small it was, or whether it will happen again, indicates change in American behavior when dealing with international crises, humanitarian tragedies and totalitarian regimes

Turki Aldakhil

Past interventions

America’s intervention in Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria is necessary to achieve peace. At times of political crises, the US State Department is well-known for always intervening in wars to achieve peace. The US intervened against Slobodan Milosevic and used its air force against him and sent heavy weapons to fight him. At the same time, it set a date for negotiations and Milosevic was forced to agree to the Dayton Agreement on December 14, 1995.

This is why top American strategists called on the US to restore the experience of the Dayton Agreement; i.e. launching war on the regime’s pillars, preventing it from easily moving, crushing its power until it submits to sitting for negotiations and concluding with a subjective political agreement that ends the tragedy of a nation, people and state.

The names of some American presidents were immortalized because they intervened at the right time to safeguard their interests and strengthen their allies. At the beginning of World War II, Theodore Roosevelt did not want to intervene. However, America’s allies France and Britain’s losses made him send them ships and ammunition.

When more than 2,000 Americans were killed, Roosevelt announced the US will participate in the war. The majority of Americans were against this “adventurous” intervention; however, it was the most successful decision any American president had made and the allies paved their way into victory and the entire face of the world changed.

Trump’s strike in Syria, regardless of its influence and how big or small it was, or whether it will happen again, indicates change in American behavior when dealing with international crises, humanitarian tragedies and totalitarian regimes. Iran will not be able to tamper with the region’s situation anyway it wants, like the case was during Barack Obama’s lean years.

The Syrian regime will not escape being held accountable and the Syrian president will, sooner or later, not be able to escape from his crimes. The usual and forthright America is back. This is the America and Trump as his close aides have often said “Obama’s term is over.”

The article was first published in Al Sharq al-Awsat on April 11, 2016.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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