According to the Wall Street Journal, President Trump is continuing to push top military advisers to accept a plan for a “sweeping” military strike against the Syrian government. They say he is “unhappy” with the Pentagon’s offers so far, feeling they don’t go far enough.
Defense Secretary James Mattis has been openly hesitant about a strike on Syria, saying he is concerned about it leading to a direct US war with Russia. Trump, however, is said to want Mattis to “push the limits a little bit more.”
Indeed, Trump wants the strike not only to hit the Syrian government, but to “exact a price” from both the Iranian and Russian forces inside Syria. This is in keeping with Trump saying just two days ago that Russia should “get ready” for US missiles.
This isn’t the first time President Trump was said to be unhappy with the options given to him by th4e military. A few months ago, before diplomacy in North Korea started happening, Trump was very keen on getting more and more options for attacking Pyongyang.
With Syria, Trump was already in the process of assembling a coalition and telling Russia to “get ready” before serious push-back began on the war. Which isn’t to say that Trump is the most hawkish in his administration on Syria.
That would have to be John Bolton, his National Security Adviser, who is said to be pushing for something vastly bigger than the 2017 attack. The Wall Street Journal said he favors a “ruinous” attack against Syria, that would cripple the government and national infrastructure of the country.
James Mattis has long tried to be a voice of reason in cabinet meetings, but with the sacking of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Mattis now finds himself alone on the side of caution, and risking being drown out by a cacophony of calls from hawks to attack.