An American political commentator said the recent US missile attack on Syria could lead to a military confrontation with Russia, describing President Donald Trump as a “reckless buffoon”.
“Without question, this was an act of war against a nation not threatening the US. Launching an attack on another nation without provocation is a war crime,” Myles Hoenig, a Green Party candidate for Congress based in Baltimore, told the Tasnim News Agency.
He added, “President Trump is a reckless buffoon. The question is can Putin resist the temptations to engage him on the same level?”
The following is the full text of the interview.
As you know,dozens of people were killed in a chemical attack in the Syrian town of Khan Shaikhun in the northwestern province of Idlib on Tuesday. The United States and its allies were quick to accuse Syrian government forces of carrying out the attack. The Syrian army said, however, that “it has never used them (chemical weapons), anytime, anywhere, and will not do so in the future.” Later, Washington warned that it will take unilateral action against the Arab country. On Friday morning, the US military, without UN mandate, launched about 60 Tomahawk missiles against several targets on al-Shayrat air base in Homs province in western Syria.“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” US President Donald Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. What’s your take on this?
Hoenig: Without question, this was an act of war against a nation not threatening the US. Launching an attack on another nation without provocation is a war crime. Some are complaining that his action was unilateral, much like his earlier ban on Muslims from coming into the US. He didn’t confer with those most involved with that decision. Critics in Congress are saying that such an action required Congressional approval, but even with it, it would only have been ‘legitimizing’ a war crime. Those in Congress are angry that they weren’t complicit, showing their own muscle as war mongers.
Also, there is no proof at this time as to who the perpetrators of this heinous act was so targeting anyone is premature. Like many statements of ‘facts’ he has given in the past, to say he knew where the attack was launched is not credible.
Following the attack, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin regards the offensive as an act of “aggression against a sovereign nation,” which was carried out based on a “made-up pretext” and that it seriously hurt Russia-US relations. Also, the Chinese government said it is the Syrian nation which should determine the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad. What do you think? What kind of message is Trump trying to convey, to Putin in particular, with Chinese President Xi Jinping sitting next to him?
Hoenig: It looks like President Trump is trying to show to both Putin and Xi Jinping that the era of American Exceptionalism does not end with his administration. There will be no rapprochement with Russia as the neo-cons continue to set the agenda for US foreign policy. He may be trying to show that he can flex his military muscles but when such actions backfire the administration will be exposed for its incompetence and war mongering. Furthermore, Russian warplanes heavily pounded terrorists’ positions in Idlib on Friday following the US attack. It seems that the situation is getting worse in the Middle East as well as the world. Do you believe that US and Russia are on road to a final collision?
Hoenig: President Trump is a reckless buffoon. The question is can Putin resist the temptations to engage him on the same level? If Trump attacks Syria again and Russian personnel are killed or injured, then for the defense of Russia Putin would have to respond forcefully, either militarily or other ways.
Before the attack on Homs, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said his country would welcome a possible US military campaign in Syria in the wake of the chemical attack in the Arab country’s northwestern province of Idlib. Where does Turkey stand on Syria?
Hoenig: Turkey has only one interest in mind, and that is to prevent Kurdish independence and stop Kurdish insurgency on its soil. Second interest is to take advantage of its NATO position, and in this way, seems to be playing all sides in its claimed fight against ISIS (Daesh or ISIL), and more specifically, for regime change in Syria. Turkey’s strategic location gives it an envious advantage as it’s the gateway to Asia and the Middle East. The US and NATO treat Turkey extremely deferentially, even though they have opposing strategic goals and often conflict with NATO’s.