This past month, a nerve gas attack in Idlib, Syria prompted President Donald Trump to take action against the Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, launching 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles onto a Syrian military base.
At a Wisconsin Union Directorate Society and Politics Committee student-led discussion, University of Wisconsin students and attendees denounced Trump’s use of force and decision to bypass Congress.
While many students agreed the Assad regime needed to be checked, they called the execution of the air strikes into question.
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UW sophomore Sam Waterbury said international guidelines need to be enforced to avoid potential future conflicts.
“If we have authority when we say ‘you can’t use chemical weapons,’ we have the potential to avoid use of force in the future,” Waterbury said.
Students agreed that the attack deserves reprimand, Trump didn’t execute this strikes well. Some stated the air strikes were “sloppy” and “very unplanned.”
Omar Jandal, a UW junior, called it a case of “realpolitik.”
Trump’s relations with Russia also drew in concerns from students, with many of them stating the strikes were an attempt to cover up past speculations that Russian influence helped the president get elected.
In addition to the airstrikes, after the attacks, U.S. officials accused Russia of covering up the Assad regime’s role in the nerve gas attacks. Some students said the president ordered the attacks to distance himself from allegations of Russia’s involvement in the presidential election.
“The strike [Trump] did was relatively conservative,” Waterbury.
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The WUD Society and Politics Committee holds weekly student-led discussions on current events and challenges facing society in the realms of politics. They meetings every week at 7 p.m. in the Langdon room at Memorial Union.