With John R. Bolton being appointed as National Security Advisor to The White House on April 9th, many have suspected that the United States' approach to foreign diplomacy would be changing based on Bolton's past record.
Less than 24 hours after his appointment the tensions between the United States and Russia escalated to a fevered pitch. Over the past several hours the situation has become more grave as the United States and Russia each toss threats back and forth at each other over the situation in Syria.
Here in Hawaii military exercises have stepped up over the past 24 hours as artillery shelling could clearly be heard from Scofield Barracks yesterday afternoon and both yesterday and today multiple fighter aircraft have been seen overhead taking off from and landing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Three of the worlds Superpowers, The United States, Russia, and China, will be involved in the conflict if it continues to escalate, which I believe it now has no other option but to continue. However, I do not believe this time will be a "limited" situation as the last airstrike was.
Russia has warned the United States that if it attacks its ally Syria over the alleged chemical attack that Russia continues to deny, it will shoot the missiles down and it the launch sites will be targeted.
With a direct threat from Russia to target United States missile launch sites, this is a clear indication of their willingness to escalate a limited strike into more than that. If that happens the United States will not just sit back and allow our missile launch sites to be attacked, they will have no other option than to launch missiles against Russian launch sites in retaliation.
Eurocontrol - the European Air Traffic Control agency, cautions airlines to avoid Syria due to possible launch of air strikes within the next 72 hours. As you can see by the radar image below taken today at 10:30 HST, flights are now avoiding Syrian airspace. In fact airspace over both Iraq and Syria is now in effect a "no-fly zone" as the last commercial airline passes out of Syrian airspace. The only traffic on radar now is Russian Ilyushin IL-76MD military aircraft from the 223rd Flight Unit that has been circling overhead.
(Radar image of Syrian airspace taken on April 11, 2018 at 10:30 HST)
(Radar image taken on April 11, 2018 at 10:45 HST showing flight path of Russian Ilyushin IL-76MD military aircraft from the 223rd Flight Unit)
Yesterday afternoon troops from both the United Kingdom and France were put on alert for a possible missile strike on Syria which could commence "within hours". The first strike on Syria has already occurred by a pre-dawn Israeli missile attack on a Syrian airbase on Monday which killed 14 people including seven Iranian military personnel.
Along with the three Superpowers involved, a number of countries armed with nuclear weapons in the region could potentially become involved in the conflict over Syria:
The United States - Operational: 1,750 - Stockpiled: 4,670
Russia - Operational: 1,790 - Stockpiled: 4,490
France - Operational: 280 - Stockpiled: 10
United Kingdom - Operational: 120 - Stockpiled: 95
Israel - Operational: 0 - Stockpiled: 80
Iran - Operational: Unknown number
The following countries could also become drawn into the conflict due to their relations with countries already involved:
China - Operational: 0 - Stockpiled: 260
Pakistan - Operational: 0 - Stockpiled: 110-130
India - Operational: 0 - Stockpiled: 110-120
North Korea - Operational: Unknown number
Any attack on Syria ordered by President Trump would be against United States Law, against the United States Constitution, and against International Law. Only Congress has the authority to declare war, yet in recent administrations the presidents have felt they do not need permission from Congress to attack foreign countries and place soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in conflict with foreign military.
President Trump is a stubborn leader who is used to getting what he wants when he sets his mind to something. John Bolton is well known for favoring military action over diplomacy in foreign relations. With these two now making National Security decisions I see no other outcome than full scale war in our immediate future which has the potential to become nuclear.
I hope that I am wrong, but only time will tell.
Nuclear Threat Initiative, Federation of American Scientists, Arms Control Association,