Some pundits have described last week’s U.S. military strike against a Syrian air force base as the potential catalyst for the third World War. With Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States maintaining such high stakes in the Syrian conflict, the attack could trigger backlash from other international powers, which could then prompt additional conflict of unprecedented levels. While this remains a fairly extreme scenario, it is not entirely outlandish, and thus one would expect that the decision to launch almost 60 tomahawk missiles into such a volatile region would be a well thought-out, careful move that is only a single component of a larger strategy that has been deliberated upon by national security and defense experts for an extensive period of time. Right? Well, not quite.
Initial backlash to Trump’s decision to call for the attack was hinged upon two primary concerns. The first was that he was reneging on a substantial campaign promise to keep the United States out of additional conflicts in the Middle East, thus upsetting a sizeable portion of the constituent base that wanted to see reduced U.S. military intervention in the region, and Syria in particular. The second concern was that the strike was a knee-jerk reaction rather than a component of a broader strategy for the region. Trump and his team furthered that concern by appearing disjointed and uncommunicative on the U.S. policy for addressing the crises in Syria. Now, a statement made by Trump’s son will serve to corroborate that notion and suggest that the strike was, in fact, an emotional response to a tragic episode (last week’s chemical attack) in Syria rather than a heavily deliberated strategy.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Eric Trump told a reporter that Ivanka Trump likely had a major role in the president’s decision to order the strike. "Ivanka is a mother of three kids and she has influence. I'm sure she said: 'Listen, this is horrible stuff,'” he explained. Less than 24 hours prior to the strike, Ivanka had tweeted that she was "heartbroken and outraged by the images coming out of Syria following the atrocious chemical attack yesterday,” contributing to the narrative put forward by Eric in which she took it upon herself to encourage Trump to strike Syria upon an emotional response to the Assad regime’s chemical attack.
While having emotional responses to humanitarian atrocities is not bad in and of itself, the problem lies in the fact that Ivanka Trump – with zero government or foreign policy experience – may have been a leading voice in calling for a military action that could potentially have unparalleled ramifications. Concerns over nepotism in the administration have been widespread, as the influence of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, continues to increase. This revelation that Ivanka’s role in the White House may be significant enough to affect U.S. military action only furthers those concerns. The White House has not officially commented on this matter, however.
What do you think about Ivanka’s potential role in the Syria strike?