Trump Adviser: No Neocon Shift, ‘Not the Bush Administration’
Gorka says president made pragmatic call on Syrian strike, suggests little risk of escalation
Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president, said on Friday morning that President Donald Trump’s populist supporters need not fear that the decision to strike a Syrian government target last week represents an embrace of neoconservatism.
“It’s not a modification,” Gorka said Friday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” “Donald J. Trump hasn’t changed from November 7 to Good Friday, April 14,” he said.
“This is not the Bush administration, and it is not neoconservatism.”
“This isn’t 2003, this isn’t 1991 and the Gulf War, and the president has not changed one bit,” Gorka said. “This is not the Bush administration, and it is not neoconservatism.”
Rather, Gorka claimed, Trump’s actions are motivated by the recognition that “if there is to be [a global] influence, it better be our values.”
Gorka blasted the notion that a limited Tomahawk missile strike in any way precipitates full-on intervention.
“It makes no sense — the idea that we are mired in something when we take an action that lasted 15 minutes,” Gorka said. To compare it with Iraq or Afghanistan “is just a salacious analogy … we are not mired in anything,” Gorka said.
Trump’s decision to attack Syria is, according to Gorka, motivated not by a desire to dive headfirst into the Syrian swamp but by a desire to project American power.
“Think about what happened since then,” said Gorka. “Vladimir Putin didn’t want to meet with us, well he did,” Gorka said, also pointing out China’s decision to suspend coal imports from North Korea. “These are not accidental issues,” said Gorka. “This is the master of the art of the deal.”
“The bottom line is [Trump’s] a patriot, and he’s a pragmatist,” said Gorka.
President Donald Trump’s order to launch cruise missiles at a Syrian air base does not represent a shift in Middle East strategy or his larger foreign-policy views, an administration aide said Friday.
Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president, said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that Thursday’s attack was a “surgical strike” with a limited and specific objective. He said it is consistent with Trump’s “America First” agenda.
“In geopolitics and geo-strategy, the moral imperative and the national-security imperative can overlap, and in this case, they absolutely do.”
“That’s why the president did what he did,” he said. “In geopolitics and geo-strategy, the moral imperative and the national-security imperative can overlap, and in this case, they absolutely do.”
Gorka also dismissed suggestions that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may not have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack that sparked the U.S. military response.
“We have the certitude for that,” he said.
Gorka made the case for military action by arguing that the mix of terrorism that directly threatens America and the use of weapons of mass destruction requires a U.S. response. He said the president remains adamantly opposed to invading other countries.
“The president and his fundamental outlook has not changed,” he said. “I can guarantee that for you … This was a surgical strike, using cruise missiles.”
Ingraham recited past quotes and tweets from Trump urging the United States to stay out of Syria.
“How is this not a complete about-face?” she asked.
Gorka said Trump has a new perspective.
“What one says as a businessman who has not had a [security] clearance and sat in the Situation Room, or what one says on the campaign trail in a politically charged environment for a year, is incredibly different to the perspective you may have after you take on the mantle of the commander-in-chief, and you are the person who is responsible for the safety of all Americans,” he said.
Gorka said America cannot stop all the atrocities in the world, but he argued that it should not ignore all of them, either.
“When evil happens, and we are able to do something, do something,” he said.
Gorka sought to differentiate Trump from former President Barack Obama.
“This is not the Obama White House,” he said. “We’re not feckless, and we’re not spineless.”
Gorka said the administration would not “give away the playbook” on future action. But he said it will be calibrated to achieve results with minimal risk to the lives of U.S. servicemen.
“We are going to change the behavior of key actors, and key supporters and sponsors,” he said. “Why? Because the carnage needs to end.”
Russia Says Evidence Growing Syria Chemical Attack Was Staged
From Bloomberg, by Stepan Kravchenko and Ilya Arkhipov
U.S. actions in Syria seek regime change, Lavrov says
Foreign ministers of Russia, Iran, Syria meet in Moscow
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a chemical-weapons attack in Syria that provoked U.S. missile strikes on the Middle Eastern country may have been orchestrated.
“There’s growing evidence that this was staged,” Lavrov said at a Moscow news conference with his Iranian and Syrian counterparts on Friday. Publications including in the U.S. and the U.K. have highlighted “many inconsistencies” in the version of events in Syria’s Idlib province that was used to justify the American airstrikes, he said.
Russia, Iran and Syria want an independent investigation and those opposed to the call “don’t have a clear conscience,” Lavrov said. Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Wednesday that demanded the Syrian government cooperate with an inquiry into the suspected sarin-gas attack that killed dozens of people.
U.S. President Donald Trump ordered cruise-missile strikes on an airbase in Syria last week after his administration accused Russia of trying to cover up Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s role in the chemical-weapons attack. Russia contends the chemicals belonged to terrorists. Lavrov called on the U.S. not to repeat the airstrikes, which he said were part of efforts to oust Assad that won’t succeed.
The crisis dominated Moscow talks between U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday as the Kremlin rebuffed demands to abandon its ally Assad. Putin’s military backing of Assad has been crucial in keeping the regime in power after six years of civil war.
The U.S. hasn’t shown evidence that Assad was responsible for the April 4 attack in Idlib, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where Putin was attending a collective-defense meeting of former Soviet republics.
The U.S. “is confident that the Syrian regime conducted a chemical weapons attack, using the nerve agent sarin, against its own people,” according to a four-page document published by officials in Washington on Tuesday that contained evidence including satellite images, reports from the scene and details of exposure gathered from victims.
Russia says Syrian forces struck a building where terrorists kept the internationally banned chemical. The U.S. says it has images proving the bomb left a crater in a road rather than hitting a building.
Related previous posts on this blog