“Silence means approval,” the minister said to me. And the Syrian minister meant what he said. Rex Tillerson, Trump’s Secretary of State, was silent.
And that was the message. Bashar al-Assad is no longer America’s target. Donald Trump, or whoever runs Trump, has decided that Assad will stay on as President of Syria. Silence is approval. Is this to please Vladimir Putin? Or is this to accept reality: that Bashar al-Assad will remain president of Syria? Either way, it is a fact. Barring ill health or assassination, Assad will continue to hold office. He will continue to be the leader. He will remain.
What does that say to the UN, the EU, the “world community”, as we like to call it? Well, not much. Boris Johnson said as much last month, with that shrug of the shoulders that he must have learned from Arthur Balfour.