The reason the Assad government would bomb its own people with a nerve agent right now is obvious. Syrian President Assad – who has been fighting for his life for several years, and is only lately feeling safer – suddenly decided to commit suicide-by-Trump. Because the best way to make that happen is to commit a war crime against your own people in exactly the way that would force President Trump to respond or else suffer humiliation at the hands of the mainstream media.
And how about those pictures coming in about the tragedy. Lots of visual imagery. Dead babies. It is almost as if someone designed this “tragedy” to be camera-ready for President Trump’s consumption. It pushed every one of his buttons. Hard. And right when things in Syria were heading in a positive direction.
- Interesting timing.
- Super-powerful visual persuasion designed for Trump in particular.
- Suspiciously well-documented event for a place with no real press.
- No motive for Assad to use gas to kill a few dozen people at the cost of his entire regime. It wouldn’t be a popular move with Putin either.
- The type of attack no U.S. president can ignore and come away intact.
- A setup that looks suspiciously similar to the false WMD stories that sparked the Iraq war.
My guess is that President Trump knows this smells fishy, but he has to talk tough anyway. However, keep in mind that he has made a brand out of not discussing military options. He likes to keep people guessing. He reminded us of that again yesterday, in case we forgot.
So how does a Master Persuader respond to a fake war crime?
He does it with a fake response, if he’s smart.
Watch now as the world tries to guess where Trump is moving military assets, and what he might do to respond. The longer he drags things out, the less power the story will have on the public. We’ll be wondering for weeks when those bombs will start hitting Damascus, and Trump will continue to remind us that he doesn’t talk about military options.
Then he waits for something bad to happen to Assad’s family, or his generals, in the normal course of chaos over there. When that happens on its own, the media will wonder if it was Trump sending a strong message to Assad in a measured way. Confirmation bias will do the rest.
There is also a non-zero chance that Putin just asked Assad to frame one of his less-effective Syrian generals for going rogue with chemical weapons, and executing him just to calm things down.
I don’t think we’ll ever know what’s going on over there. But I think we can rule out the idea that Assad decided to commit suicide-by-Trump.