United States policy in Syria is expected to change as soon as the next president takes office next year, whether it be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, several experts said this week after a leaked U.S. state department document showed that 51 diplomats have signed a memo criticizing President Barack Obama’s Syria policy.
The document, which was sent through the state department’s “dissent channel,” a conduit for voicing contrary opinions meant to be confidential, calls for "targeted military strikes" against Bashar Assad’s government—something Obama has long opposed.
In response to the leaked document, the White House said it is willing to hear out the critical diplomats. However, it also stressed it would not change its policy of not targeting the Syrian regime.
But experts say that in less than seven months the policy is most likely to change when the new president takes over, whether it is Clinton or Trump.
The former secretary of state never attempted to hide her interventionist leanings and has always been vocal about supporting military operations and regime change.
When the Syrian conflict kicked off five years ago, Clinton "took a more interventionist point of view, which she certainly expressed when she was secretary of state, and Obama took it into consideration," Alan Henrikson, a professor of diplomatic history and director of diplomatic studies at Tufts University, told US News Friday.
Obama “weighed those arguments" as the situation developed, and chose a different course, added Henrikson.
When Clinton left Obama’s Cabinet, many speculated the fallout between the two was mainly over foreign policy as Obama favored the more diplomatic approach and Clinton pressed for a more aggressive one.
Clinton’s push for intervention in Libya was seen by experts and commentators as one of the main reasons behind Clinton leaving behind the top diplomat position.
Obama’s Iran policy was also cited as a reason for the fallout as Clinton was reluctant to start official talks with Tehran over its nuclear program. During her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton made several inflammatory comments about Iran that would have compromised the talks.
Ann Wright, a former State Department official told RT in an interview last week that Clinton and Trump, the two presumptive nominees for president, agree on military action in Syria.
“I think from the rhetoric of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and their known stances on the use of military power to resolve essentially political issues, I think both of them will be strong for military operations in Syria to affect the change and that would be the overthrow of the Assad government," she said.