STATEMENT: CAP’s Kelly Magsamen Says the United States Needs a Coherent Strategy on Syria

Washington, D.C. — After the United States, France, and Britain launched a coordinated strike against Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, Kelly Magsamen, vice president for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable in the 21st century. And regimes that use them against innocents—as well as those that defend these regimes—must be held accountable by the international community. In that regard, the action taken by the United States, France, and Britain was morally appropriate.

However, if the objective of this military action was to deter the Assad regime from future use of chemical weapons, it is far from clear that this mission is indeed accomplished. For the president to claim otherwise is profoundly irresponsible. Furthermore, this military strike, like the one before it, does nothing to address the profound humanitarian crisis and countless deaths of Syrian innocents at the hand of Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers. In this regard, the United States and the international community have failed the Syrian people for years.

What is clear is that President Trump has no real—or even consistent—strategy on Syria. It is time for the United States to lead using all our instruments of national power. We can lead by opening—not closing—our doors to Syrian refugees; by working with our coalition partners to ensure that ISIS does not return; and by growing—not cutting—our State Department budget so that we can develop and implement a diplomatic strategy to resolve the civil war. Finally, the administration and Congress need to come together and agree on such a strategy, including any future use of military force.

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For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org, or 202-478-6327.