Syria attack

Something big happened last week. Trump launched a cruise missile strike on a Syrian air force base in response to reports of the Assad government using chemical weapons against Syrian people. This has many potential consequences.

First in the domestic space, it reduces the clamour of Russophobic allegations. President Trump’s critics have repeatedly attacked his administration for its alleged close ties with Russia.

Similarly on the international front, it puts the US at loggerheads with Putin and Russia which despite brokering a deal to stop the use of chemical weapons has effectively provided the Assad regime unconditionally. I was very surprised by some of the footage shown on RT news showing the armament their troops were using. Notable was the use of strategic bombers like the Tu22 Backfire. 

For those unfamiliar with these machines, the Tu22 is a 1970s era supersonic strategic bomber that was designed to drop atomic bombs on NATO forces in western Europe. The thing with atomic bombs is that you don’t have to aim them very carefully. It doesn’t matter if they drop a hundred metres away from the target, the effect will be the same. In other words, this is not a precision weapon. If you want to take out an enemy hiding in the basement of a building using a Tu22, you will have to drop several bombs and probably destroy the whole neighborhood. Indeed, the RT news footage did show one of these monsters unloading its entire bomb payload at a time.

The use of such weapons implies complete disregard for collateral damage. This kind of ruthless pursuit of objectives without a care for consequences is hardly rare.

Somehow I am reminded of an occassion which though not installed war zone resulted in almost as many casualties. When the iron curtain fell in 1989, western observers entered Romania. Romania had a fantastic macroeconomic record having absolutely no foriegn debt. They owed nothing to the Soviets or World Bank or anybody. The communist dictatorship had achieved this by exporting the natural resources, electricity and food. Romanians themselves were left to starve.

In all occassions, such strategies provide rapid short term results the expense of long term calamity.

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