At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Saturday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, proudly relayed a message from President Donald Trump: U.S., British and French forces earlier that morning had launched airstrikes that “crippled Syria’s chemical-weapons program,” and the U.S was “locked and loaded” to strike again.
The Security Council was meeting to de-escalate a situation that had become a crisis. The early-morning strikes were in retaliation for an April 7 chemical attack in Douma, a city outside Damascus, in which more than 40 people were killed. But Trump and his allies say Syria illegally maintains a chemical-weapons program as a hedge against rebel groups in the war-torn country.
The airstrikes over the weekend have broadened and deepened East-West tensions, and most particularly with Russia, which has shown extraordinary restraint. But make no mistake about it, we’re still on the brink of war.