“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.”
Those were Hillary Clinton’s words just hours before her nemesis, President Donald Trump, ordered air strikes launching 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat airfield in the southeast of Homs, Syria.
The Trump administration described the strikes as a “one-off” and insisted there were no plans for escalation. But an escalation is rapidly underway. Russia, despite being given advanced warning of the bombing from the US, has suspended an agreement with the US to avoid mid-air collisions in Syrian airspace.
The US government’s goals for the Syria strike can be deduced from the background role of one the most powerful diplomats in American history: Henry Kissinger. The former secretary of state, once accused by the late Christopher Hitchens of complicity in US “war crimes” in Latin America and south-east Asia, has been a key advisor to Trump in negotiating US relations with Russia and China.
Kissinger was previously a secret national security consultant to President George W Bush, and under Obama was directly involved in the US National Security Council’s chain-of-command. He also frequently advised Hillary Clinton during her term as secretary of state.
His influence in the Trump administration is also visible through his former acolyte, KT McFarland, who is now Trump’s deputy national security advisor, and who previously served under Kissinger in the 1970s in his National Security Council.
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