Trump has upped the ante in Syria http://www.smh.com.au/world/live-us-launches-missiles-on-syria-what-we-know-so-far-20170407-gvfs3i.html
What to make of that given the unambiguously appalling nature of the Assad regime? This is bad news.
Way back at the start of this decade, when the drumbeats for war against Iraq were growing, there were multiple arguments about the merits of deposing dictators and regime change. Some were from neo-conservatives but many were from people in the centre or the centre-left of politics. Such debates do matter but I’m not going to rehash them. Simply put ALL such arguments rely on an assumption of COMPETENCE.
I hate the X is a cancer and we need to surgically remove X style arguments for oh, so many reasons, not least of which is that it’s a bad analogy and cancer survivors have enough on their plate without being dragged into bad geopolitics analogies. However, it does illustrate one point: even if the analogy was right/appropriate it IMPLIES THAT YOU NEED A VERY GOOD SURGEON. Applying this logic it was obvious wayyyyy back, that even if arguments for regime change in Iraq were sound on principle, that George W. Bush was a simple refutation of each of them.*
If you are attempting something both dangerous and difficult and which has a very poor record of success then you need somebody VERY competent organising it.**
Now, arguably, the US military has gained more experience of how to handle these kinds of conflicts by virtue of long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but, BUT, the actual executive branch of the US government is at a level of competence that makes George W look like a genius.
For those who may have felt they should support interventionist actions by Clinton or Obama or even supported George W Bush’s Iraq adventure, there is NO hypocrisy in not wanting Trump to engage more deeply in Syria. The man is a dangerous incompetent and the checks and balances on him are weak in this arena.
*[I suspect Tony Blair actually followed similar reasoning but ended up in a different place i.e. Bush was going to do this anyway and mess things up so Blair felt he had to step in and help. This demonstrates how clever thoughtful people can perpetuate dangerous stupidity.]
**[Putting ethics, geopolitics and military aside – which in itself is a bad idea]