Today General Mattis met with President Trump to flesh out what could be done over the suspected chemical attacks carried out in Syria on the local population. Mattis has expressed a measured approach to the situation and has been looking at the evidence of the attack and a appropriate response. Given that there is a lack of solid evidence to link the Assad regime carrying out the attacks this limits the scope of the response that can be carried out. The previous ineffectual response when the last attacks occurred have put Washington in a weakened position, especially with Russia threatening a response to any units firing at Syrian Targets. Given Washington’s already weakened position and its poor decision making on diplomatic policy positions, room for manoeuvre has been severely limited on any diplomatic front.
Moscow has already made it clear that they are in the driving seat in the Syria conflict and outside interference is not welcome. Washington’s position at this point is a military response to Syria, but this could have serious repercussions, as it would provoke a direct conflict with Russia which neither side is eager to pursue. A lack of effort towards coordinated diplomatic policy in Middle Eastern and outside theatres has proven disastrous for the U.S. administration as well as indecisive strategic and military objectives. All these mistakes have added up and have put Russia in the driving seat for expanding their strategic ambitions while severely limiting the U.S. and its Western allies.
It appears that Russia has the upper hand in this affair with Washington having very little influence over the outcome, other than continuing to engage in proxy warfare. The outcome of this will have direct consequences, especially on the views of Middle Eastern countries and the world on the weakness of the U.S. administration, giving rise to other nations contesting U.S. hegemony, the knock on effect being to strengthen Russia’s position as well as speeding up its global ambitions. With this in mind are we observing the setting of the sun on U.S. hegemony, or a new awakening as the U.S. administration faces up to its mistakes and rallies to fix them?