Trump May Have Actually Taken Hillary Clinton's Syria Advice

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On Thursday afternoon, hours before Trump ordered a Syria airfield missile strike, Hillary Clinton urged the nation to take action during the Women of the World Summit in New York. Her advice came just two days after dozens of innocent Syrians were killed in a gas attack that U.S. officials believe was launched by Syrian President Assad's regime, though his administration has denied involvement. Specifically, Clinton suggested the U.S. military should target Assad's airbases and later that evening, Trump ordered just that.

At the summit, Clinton said:

That air force is the cause of most of the civilian deaths, as we have seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days. I really believe that we should have — and still should — take out his airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.

And indeed, Trump ordered over 50 tomahawk missiles to be aimed at the airfield off of which the aircrafts carrying the deadly nerve agent known as sarin were launched on Tuesday. Prior to Clinton's statement, however, Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had hinted the nation would be stepping up to the plate when it comes to addressing the violence in Syria. And I can only hope Trump wouldn't act upon one person's military advice without having thought it over for at least a full 24 hours.

It's worth noting that Clinton's proposed policy for dealing with Syria has diverged from that of both Trump and President Obama since October 2016 at the latest. During a presidential debate that month, for example, the former secretary of state advocated for a no-fly zone in Syria, suggesting that it could "save lives and hasten the end of the conflict." Though that strategy is certainly less aggressive than missile strikes, it's also risky in that it invites Russia to potentially breach the no-fly zone and spark more conflict with the United States.

Still, the airstrike marks a turn for the Trump administration — both in its military strategy and its willingness to become involved in the conflict in Syria, which has been ongoing for over six years. For one, Trump bypassed Congress while ordering the airstrike, hinting to other nations such as Syria and Russia, one of Assad's allies, that he won't hesitate to take an aggressive approach. Secondly, the United States has avoided interfering in Syria for the most part up until Thursday's airstrike. The ramifications of taking action against Assad — and indirectly, against Russia — have yet to be known.