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Bashar Assad’s ISIS Fight May Be Reason Trump Is Cautious

April 6, 2017 8:12 AM
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As late as earlier this week, some in the White House were saying that for the U.S. to pursue the ouster of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad would be “silly.” But after President Donald Trump’s strong statement Wednesday about Assad’s use of chemical weapons and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s denunciation of both the Syrian government and its Russian enabler, the notion of American action — both diplomatic and possibly even military — directed against Assad can’t be considered so silly. Indeed, as the Trump foreign-policy team assesses its goals in the Middle East, reversing course on Syria may be the only way the president has of fulfilling his promise to defeat ISIS.

Those who cheered Trump’s determination to avoid foreign entanglements — especially those rooted in humanitarian concerns — may be hoping that the administration’s most recent statements about Syria won’t be translated into action. Given Trump’s history of deprecating the Bush administration and his...

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