... what next? You’d have to be exceptionally sanguine to feel any confidence that President Trump has given sustained attention to this question. But a choice faces him. Is there now a new US policy of regime change in Syria? Or (as Mr Trump’s earlier campaign messaging suggested) is there not?
Translate those alternatives into real terms. Is Thursday night’s strike a message to Bashar al-Assad that it is curtains for his presidency? Or a message that if he wants to be left alone he had better stick to barrel-bombing and mass executions and steer clear of evident chemical attacks? The US secretary of state’s hints earlier on Thursday that there is now “no place” for Assad in Syria do not grow less opaque under close textual analysis and my guess is that Rex Tillerson hasn’t the least idea which way Washington should jump. My guess would also be that at this stage the president himself hasn’t the least idea.A case of not looking before leaping?