When President Trump launched an airstrike on Syria in retaliation for Bashar al-Assad using poison gas on his own people, many questioned whether it was true because Assad supposedly had no such weapons anymore. President Obama had let Russia broker a deal to eliminate them. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent inspectors, who verified that there were no more chemical weapons in Syria. So how did Assad use chemical weapons he no longer had?
Short answer: he simply fooled everyone. The BBC interviewed dozens of people involved in the story to uncover how Assad lied about his weapons stockpile and stalled and misled the inspectors. Angela Kane, the UN’s former high representative for disarmament, told Reuters, “What has really been shown is that there is no counter-measure, that basically the international community is just powerless” to stop rogue states from building weapons of mass destruction.
Well, I’d hardly say “powerless.” Trump showed that 59 well-placed Tomahawk missiles can make the point pretty effectively. But if you’re looking to draw conclusions from Obama's naive, clueless and tragically failed disarmament plan, try these:
1. Never trust despot leaders when they pinky-swear to destroy their weapons.
2. Don’t farm out your tough negotiations with rogue regimes to Russia, particularly when Russia is their strongest ally.
3. Never assume that inspectors from some international NGO can’t be fooled when they can only look for weapons where the despot with a big stake in fooling them allows them to look.
Or you could just have more common sense than God gave a fruitbat, and that would pretty well cover all the above.
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