Foreign policy expert answers your Syria questions

Syria FAQ

CLEARWATER —S ince the gas attack, and days after President Donald Trump signed off on a missile strike, his administration is now trying to figure out how best to handle the conflict in Syria.

Of the Americans surveyed in a CBS News poll, 18 percent want to see full U.S. military involvement in Syria with ground troops:

-- 30 percent say they support additional air strikes.

-- 26 percent say diplomatic talks are needed, not further military action.

We looked through hundreds of Facebook comments to see what questions you have on this issue.

10News political reporter Mark Rivera sat down with a U.S. foreign policy expert to get them answered -- starting with how the missile strike fits with Trump's mantra of "America First."

RIVERA: Mindy on Facebook says “no, we always get involved where we shouldn't.” Does this mean this idea of “America first” for President Trump is out the window?

Dr. Bledar Prifti, Foreign Policy Expert: We don't know that yet because we need to look at the administration needs to provide us the reason: why did we attack Syria?

The Trump administration hasn't given specifics except to say the President was moved by the images he saw from the Chemical weapon attack last week.

But Prifti says attacking again, unilaterally, would go against US interests in the Middle East.

RIVERA: What happens next in our involvement?

PRIFTI: I believe, and strongly so, that the current administration will realize that foreign policy cannot be conducted based on emotions. This administration will realize that we need to use unilateral action is only when our strategic interests are at stake. When dealing with humanitarian issues - like killing of civilians - especially children - I believe that the US should pass the buck, or empower the regional states or the UN to do the job to deal with these issues.

Prifti says if we go deeper into the Syrian War we risk damaging Syria and Iran's ability to fight ISIS, and in that region.

PRIFTI: Those are the only two states fighting ISIS.

RIVERA: So what about this question from Beth: "Bomb a nation, get increased poll ratings. He is a ratings guy." So you think that that is a possibility?

PRIFTI: Indeed, I hope that was the case. Because I do not want the US to engage in attacks that do not benefit our strategic interest. I hope that was the case. That means US foreign policy will stabilize as we move forward.

RIVERA: So basically what you're saying is you hope it was the case because you hope it was a one-off and it's not going to happen again?

PRIFTI: Correct. That's what I mean. It is not in our interest to attack Syria. Indeed our interest is to support Syria, to pass the burden of fighting ISIS to Syria and Iran and to all other regional states.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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