Most people are deeply & justifiably troubled by what the presidency of Trump will mean for human rights in the US & for war in the Middle East. The rightward shift in US politics will accelerate. Of that we can be sure. Our perspectives must be to join the youth already protesting against that shift, to help build that movement, & to rebuild the international antiwar movement to reverse this rightward shift—as the antiwar & social movements of the 1960s-1970s attempted.
There are analysts claiming Trump’s attitude toward Putin, endorsement by Assad, & collegiality with Netanyahu forebode a more aggressive US military role in the Middle East, especially in Syria & toward the Palestinians. That view is based on middle-school social studies lessons, not an understanding of how the US government is run, & is an especially embarrassing credulity, coming from sophisticated commentators like Gilbert Achcar.
Since the president does not formulate US foreign policy, it will likely stay the same until events on the ground in Syria dictate a change in policy. US policy is determined in think tanks, in special advisory bodies, in consultations with the Pentagon & CIA & other government agencies & experts, & collaboration with bankers & corporate heads. Trumps relationships with political figures like Putin will play no role whatsoever except to serve if necessary as a pretext for changes in policy.
There are differences emerging among US policy makers about what to do in Syria but that has been true of most, if not all wars, going all the way back to Vietnam in post WWII history. Differences & debates among them about complicated wars are a certainty & sometimes get reported publicly. Not always. The US is in a quagmire in Syria because it isn’t the military calling the shots & is in an unstable collaboration with Syria, Russia, & Iran.
US policy for now is sub rosa cooperation with the Assad regime to pulverize the popular movement against dictatorship. That opposition is not just among the paramilitary groups of conflicting political character but is a mass phenomenon, which is precisely why Assad & Russia are bombing civilians & cities.
The US & Russia are part of the Syrian counterrevolution. The US is running a treacherous operation & using its intervention to maximize conflict in the Middle East. That will include continuing intervention in Syria & military support to Israel in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
The historic mission remains: rebuild the international antiwar movement:
All foreign intervention & military aid of any kind to Syria must be actively opposed, whether by the US, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah.
All military intervention in Yemen by the Saudi-led, US & UK-backed coalition must be actively opposed.
All US-NATO intervention in Afghanistan must be actively opposed.
All military intervention in Iraq must be actively opposed.
All military aid to Israel must be actively opposed.