Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is joining forces with the foreign ministers who belong to the Group of Seven to send a “clear and coordinated message” to Russia that their support of the lawless Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad will no longer be tolerated.
In the wake of a brutal chemical attack that drew a swift missile strike from the U.S. last week, Tillerson and other foreign leaders are hoping to complement military action with increased international pressure against Vladimir Putin, Iran, and other allies of Assad.
Together with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, and the other G7 ministers, Tillerson aims to put diplomatic pressure on Putin and drive a wedge between Russia and Syria.
From Fox News:
The U.S. received broad support from Europe after the airstrikes. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, who is hosting the meeting, said the missile strike contributed to a “renewed harmony” between the U.S. and its partners ahead of the first meeting of G7 foreign ministers since President Trump took office.
“We need to remember that not 10 years ago, but 100 or 120 days ago, the concern in Europe was that the United States and the EU were moving apart,” Alfano told Sky TG24 Sunday. “I welcome this renewed harmony.”
Unfortunately, Russia and Iran have only doubled down on their defense of Syria in the wake of the strikes. In a joint statement this weekend, the two countries pledged their defiance.
“What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines,” the countries said. “From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.”
This is a lot of hot air, of course; neither of these countries – essentially isolated from the rest of the world – want to make war with the U.S. and its allies. But if they dig their heels in, it could at least make it more difficult for President Trump to pursue a policy of regime change in Syria.
Where the U.S. will go from here remains a mystery, but Trump has put the world on notice: There is only so far he will be pushed, regardless of whatever pre-existing foreign policy agenda he’d hoped to implement. Let it be a warning to any rogue nations that want to push the envelope.