An internationally recognized journalist believes U.S. President Donald Trump “talks a good fight, but likely won’t want to get involved in one”.
That was the main message delivered by journalist Gwynne Dyer to a crowd at the Belleville Public Library last night.
Dyer, who’d just arrived in Canada from Britain, says Trump is ignorant of many things but is a “rapid learner”. “He has proven to have a lot of bluster and
is certainly not afraid of changing his position on issues drastically as he actually learns the facts and consequences.”
In regards to the the latest crisis involving North Korea, Dyer wondered aloud why there even was a crisis. “North Korea testing ballistic missiles or even nuclear weapons isn’t anything new. They’ve been at it for years.”
He believes Trump needed to differentiate his leadership from that of his predecessor Barack Obama. Obama practiced “strategic patience” meaning not taking hard action against North Korea. President Trump quickly went on record saying the U.S. was no longer in the “strategic patience” game.
But in Dyer’s studied opinion, there is no other useful option for the U.S. in dealing with North Korea than patience. He believes the U.S. can’t hurt North Korea any more than it has economically, and a military strike, with or without China, wouldn’t work.
Dropping huge bombs from the air onto North Korean missile sites deep underground would only cause North Korea to unleash its huge military arsenal in response, causing heavy destruction and casualties in neighbouring South Korea.
Dyer says Trump will back off on North Korea as he has backed off from many of his initial positions, whether international or domestic.
On the Syrian mess, Mr. Dyer says he is one of a vast minority of onlookers who believe it wasn’t President Bashar al-Assad who dropped chemical bombs on a town in Syria. Dyer says the U.S. and Russia were just about to cooperate on a ceasefire that would have left al-Assad in control of most of what is known as “useful Syria”, the part with good land.
He believes al-Assad would have been “thunderously stupid” to instigate a deadly chemical attack on his own people when things were going in his favour.
“I believe the only one who could have benefited from the chemical attack in Syria was one, or several, of the many rebel factions fighting in the country. By harming civilians including many women and children, President Trump abruptly changed course and broke off relations with President Putin, thereby scuttling a possible ceasefire benefiting their enemy, President Bashar al-Assad. The chemical attack would work in the rebel’s favour.”
Again, Dyer said he didn’t think Trump would commit the American military to anything serious in Syria, comparing the importance of that country to the importance to the U.S. of Nicaragua. “We just don’t need oil from the mideast as much as we used to” said Dyer.
As far as the war in Iraq is concerned, Dyer says the Islamic State is just about gone in that country, and doesn’t think Trump will deploy a large military force there. Dyer expects the war to “peter out”, while admitting civil wars will continue between Shia Arabs and the Kurds indefinitely.
He was educated at the Royal Military Academy at Sandford and Oxford University in England and his international affairs columns are published in 175 newspapers worldwide.