Shouldn’t All Republicans Applaud Biden’s Syria Strike?

By Andrew Korybko

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President Biden’s Thursday night strike on Eastern Syria against alleged pro-Iranian militias there surprisingly prompted some criticism from influential Republicans like Don Jr., which was unexpected because one would have thought that they’d applaud his aggression since it advances the security interests of their country’s “Israeli” ally and also made it less likely that his efforts to revive the nuclear negotiations will succeed.

American politics is characterized by hypocrisy, and nowhere is this seen more clearly at the moment than with President Biden’s Thursday night strike on Eastern Syria against alleged pro-Iranian militias there. Breitbart pointed out how the American leader and some of his officials like Vice President Harris and spokeswoman Psaki criticized former President Trump’s assassination of Iranian Major General Soleimani at the start of last year yet ironically went and supported a similar killing albeit against much lesser-known figures a little less than a month after taking office. That’s a valid observation to make, but equally valid is the fact that influential Republicans like Don Jr. are also being hypocritical for criticizing Biden for the first attack of his presidency. After all, one would have thought that they’d applaud his aggression since it advances the security interests of their country’s “Israeli” ally and also made it less likely that his efforts to revive the nuclear negotiations will succeed. It also deserves mentioning that Trump himself bombed Syria just several months into his presidency in response to false claims that President Assad carried out a chemical weapons attack.

What’s happening here isn’t that everyone suddenly had a change of heart and coincidentally reversed their prior positions at the same time, but simply that they’re behaving as they’re expected to considering their current political positions. Opposition figures usually always criticize the ruling party’s strikes, hoping that this will endear them more to anti-war voters who are largely skeptical of larger military involvement overseas, whether for reasons of principle, security, and/or financial cost. Biden and his ilk behaved this way when Trump killed Soleimani, which is the exact same role that Don Jr. is now playing. Trump himself, while thankfully not starting another major war during his term in office unlike other presidents over the past four decades or so, went back on his prior anti-war pledges from the campaign trail by bombing Syria so soon after entering the White House. Just like Biden nowadays, this proves that opposition figures who are critical of the incumbents’ military actions abroad almost always end up carrying out their own such attacks because they believe in their own way — whether rightly or wrongly — that they do indeed support America’s national interests.

Trump’s Syria strike was the result of “deep state” manipulations while Biden’s was much more voluntary on his part, but nevertheless, they both served to send a message to Iran’s Syrian ally that the US won’t go “soft” on it despite Trump’s prior peaceful talk and Biden’s ongoing attempts to revive the nuclear deal with Tehran. About the most recent attack and the context in which it was carried out, Biden was also pressured by domestic factors to show Republicans that he won’t be “soft” on Iran either despite his administration’s diplomatic outreaches to it and their policy shift regarding Yemen. Although some criticized Trump for his proud pro-”Israeli” foreign policy sympathies, Biden is just as bad from this perspective because he directly targeted alleged pro-Iranian militias in Syria as a strong showing of his administration’s “goodwill” towards Tel Aviv in response to their concern that Washington is neglecting its regional interests by wanting to re-enter into nuclear talks with Tehran. Those negotiations might now be more difficult to revive than ever since Iran’s ruling “reformists” are under severe pressure from the “principalists” not to talk to the US until after June’s elections.

These two outcomes — the US’ clear signs of geostrategic fealty to “Israeli” regional security interests and potentially self-sabotaging the nuclear talks with Tehran — arguably align with Republican foreign policy interests and were unquestionably advanced by Trump himself during his tenure through his assassination of Major General Soleimani and decision to withdraw from the JCPOA. Many Republicans, however, don’t want to remember this since they’re just interested in criticizing the incumbent leader of their rival party due to how sour they still are over the contentious outcome of last year’s elections. Had Trump won re-election and been the one to bomb Syria last Thursday instead, they’d all probably be cheering him and praising his decisive military support for “Israeli” regional security interests at Iran’s alleged expense. At the same time, those Democrats who stand in support of Biden’s latest strike would have probably condemned it had Trump been the President who authorized the attack. This is all so predictable, yet few are talking about it because they’re blinded by the desire to make rhetorical points of relevance in the immediate moment.

The explained dynamic probably won’t ever change because the American people are so easily manipulable. Although outliers certainly exist as proven by the reader themselves for even being interested in this analysis in the first place, the majority have been conditioned to react to political rhetoric instead of think on their own. Partisan politics plays an enormous role in all of this since it’s rare for the average Democrat or Republican to criticize their side, especially when doing so would place them in the same camp as their opponents. That’s why so few Republicans can bring themselves to applaud Biden’s Syria strike even though they’d have likely praised it to high heaven had Trump been the one to carry it out. Similarly, few Democrats want to call Biden and his team out for their hypocrisy in criticizing Trump’s assassination of Soleimani yet nevertheless authorizing the assassination of a much higher number of lesser-known individuals allegedly linked to Iran. At the end of the day, more such examples are inevitable since this dynamic will remain the same so long as Americans continue to allow themselves to be manipulated in such simplistic political-rhetorical ways.

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