President Donald Trump’s top aides are firmly convinced that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be president if only she had taken a more aggressive stance toward the Syrian regime and instead allowed a U.S.-led coalition to take the lead in liberating the country.
But the White House, in recent days, has been urging the commander in chief to take a more pragmatic approach and take the fight to the Islamic State, which has dominated much of the country’s north and west, instead of a proxy war between Assad and Russia and its Iranian and Lebanese allies.
The administration’s arguments are based on a more nuanced understanding of the Syrian conflict than that of the White Helmets, a nonprofit that has documented the death and destruction in Syria.
The White Helmet group has repeatedly called for the United States to be the leading force against the Islamic Republic.
On Sunday, the White’s Council on Foreign Relations issued a report that said Assad was still “willing to consider a diplomatic solution” to the conflict, but it did not address the possibility of a U-turn.
“The administration remains committed to supporting the United Nations Security Council resolution in its current form, but is not ready to make a decision on the final form,” the report said.
“It is possible that a diplomatic approach may be better suited to the Syrian situation,” it added.
In an interview with The Associated Press last week, White House spokesman Raj Shah said the president was “very confident” that Clinton would defeat President Bashar al-Assad in a second term.
“I believe that the Syrian people will make the right choice for their future,” Shah said.
Shah said the administration is “certainly going to continue to work with the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates” to defeat the Islamic state, adding that the U.K. is already “taking a hard line” against the group.”
I think we have a lot of work to do to bring down Assad.”
Shah said the administration is “certainly going to continue to work with the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates” to defeat the Islamic state, adding that the U.K. is already “taking a hard line” against the group.
White House officials are also working on an alternative plan to defeat Assad, and the president has told them he would “probably” endorse that plan if it were presented to him, according to the AP.
Trump, who has not met with his top foreign policy aides since his inauguration, has frequently talked about the need to take advantage of the Islamic world’s turmoil and to create a “sustainable world order.”
On Monday, he reiterated his view that a “political solution” is the only way to end the conflict and suggested that the United Nation’s peacekeeping mission in the Middle East may be the best way to accomplish that.
“There are other things that we can do, but this is the best thing for Syria,” Trump said during an interview on CNN.
“We’re going to go after the bad guys and we’re going take them out.”
The White House is also considering ways to help the U,S.
protect allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle Eastern region.