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After fulminating about retaliation for the latest Syrian chemical weapons attack, the Trump administration cooled off long enough to consider the dangers of such a strike.Perhaps Trump will more clearly see now the need for a broader U.S. strategy to help stabilize Syria.The right sort of message requires discretion: Trump didn't publicly tout his plan to fire 59 cruise missiles after the Khan Sheikhoun attack; the U.S. in February warned Russian liaison officers before a devastating assault on paramilitary forces attacking an oil-and-gas facility near Deir al-Zor; Israel has struck Iranian operations at the T-4 air base in central Syria, without claiming credit for the attacks.What would Trump do if this action, unlike the Syria reprisal of a year ago, failed to win applause?Trump, like President Obama, is finding that it's easier to talk about withdrawing from Middle East wars than to actually do it. When Trump takes military action in Syria, he owns the consequences.
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