Donald Trump’s Syria whiplash

first_imgIn the span of one week, U.S. President Trump and his team have pirouetted from declaring that Syria’s murderous dictator could stay in power to launching airstrikes against his regime — and possibly committing the United States to a new military conflict whose scope and scale are unknown.It’s a dizzying turnabout for a man who complained endlessly during the presidential campaign about the trillions the United States had wasted on wars in the Middle East — and who urged his predecessor in 2013 not to launch “stupid” airstrikes to punish Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people.But Donald Trump is nothing if not “flexible,” as he put it in Wednesday’s press conference, describing how horrific images of gassed Syrian children had changed his “attitude” toward Assad, who U.S. intelligence agencies were quick to deem responsible. As for what punishment the president had in store for the Syrian leader, he wasn’t sharing: “I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or the other,” Trump said. Only last Thursday, U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley was saying, “Our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out,” and Tillerson, borrowing language from Russian diplomats, was announcing, “the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.”Months ago, Trump was insisting that the focus of U.S. policy should be defeating ISIS, rather than ousting Assad. “You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton,” he told Reuters in an interview. “You’re not fighting Syria any more, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right? Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk,” he said. That was October. What happens next? It would be foolish to predict what Trump will do—he may not even know himself. But it seems we can dispense with the campaign-trail narrative that he is some kind of dove. Trump is a war president now: So far, he’s bombed both sides of the conflict in Syria; used military force in Yemen, where he dramatically escalated the number of drone strikes and authorized a special operations raid that led to the death of a Navy SEAL; and quietly deployed additional troops in Iraq (and Syria). Trump has also declared Somalia a combat zone, a designation that gives the military more leeway to launch airstrikes without seeking explicit White House approval.Nobody expected Trump, of all people, to wage a campaign to avenge Syrian children—who, after all, aren’t even allowed to come into the United States as refugees. But this is a man who doesn’t like being predictable. Back in 2013, when he was still just a billionaire reality TV star with a Twitter habit, Trump said that if he did attack Syria, ”it would be by surprise and not blurted all over the media like fools.”Surprise. Also On POLITICO Trump faces pressure to attack Syrian regime By Nahal Toosi US launches air strikes against Assad forces in Syria By Nahal Toosi, Tara Palmeri, Bryan Bender and Jacqueline Klimas Trump’s ‘red line’ reversal hints at Syria shift By Michael Crowley On Thursday, as reports swirled that the administration was considering military action, Trump remained coy. He sidled to the rear of Air Force One and again told the traveling press corps that he wasn’t prepared to say what he might do about Assad. When pressed on the matter, he said only, “He’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so I guess something should happen.”The messages coming from various quarters of the administration were, shall we say, mixed. Earlier Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke only of a multi-stage, John Kerry-esque process that would involve first defeating ISIS and stabilizing Syria, and then “to work collectively with our partners around the world through a political process that would lead to Assad leaving.”By 4 p.m., my colleagues are reporting, the National Security Council was meeting to tee up a decision for the president, who phoned in from Florida to make the final call.“Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” Trump said in brief remarks at Mar-a-Lago, casting the move as necessary “to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” He didn’t say whether this would be his only action, or what he hoped would happen next. He didn’t say his aim was to oust Assad, but rather to “end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.”With these strikes, Trump is taking an extraordinary gamble, one whose ramifications he or his administration can’t possibly have fully examined. The Syrian conflict is mind-bogglingly complicated, with dozens upon dozens of insurgent groups squaring off against the Syrian military and pro-regime sectarian militias along with forces from Lebanese Hezbollah, Iran and Russia. Some of the insurgent groups are aligned with al Qaeda; others with ISIS. The U.S. works closely with Kurdish groups that are mortal foes of Turkey, a problematic ally that is increasingly at odds with the United States.Has President Trump wrestled with all of this complexity? The guy who spent the morning he learned about the chemical-weapons attack riffing to reporters about Susan Rice, Bill O’Reilly and the last time he rode the subway?last_img read more

Nasib Malang Airbus A380, Tak Dilirik Jadi Angkutan Kargo Gegara Empat Alasan Ini

first_imgSimple Flying belum lama ini membahas terkait kenaikan penerbangan hanya kargo dan bagaimana maskapai penerbangan global mengubah pesawat penumpang yang ada menjadi angkutan kargo guna memenuhi tingginya permintaan. Bahkan, tingginya permintaan penerbangan khusus kargo di kuartal I dan II 2020 ini tercatat menjadi yang pertama kalinya sejak beberapa dekade terakhir.Secara matematis, dimensi lebar A380 harusnya mampu membuat muatan kargo jauh lebih fantastis. Belum lagi bila kabin penumpang dimuat kargo, sebagaimana tren penerbangan akhir-akhir ini, saking tingginya permintaan lalu lintas kargo pesawat. Namun, kalkulasi konversi A380 menjadi angkutan hanya kargo tidak semudah pesawat lainnya. Setidaknya ada beberapa hal yang membuatnya menjadi rumit.Pertama, bobot pesawat bahkan dalam keadaan kosong sekalipun. Bobot kosong A380 masih lebih tinggi dibanding angkutan kargo besutan Boeing, 747-8F yang dinilai jauh lebih kompetitif. Dalam setiap penerbangan, setidaknya A380 butuh suntikan sebesar Rp464 juta lebih per jam. Bisa dibayangkan berapa cost dalam sekali terbang.Kedua, sekalipun dimensi A380 jauh lebih besar bukan berarti pesawat itu dapat mengangkut lebih banyak kargo ketika dikonversi menjadi angkutan kargo. Pasalnya, A380 akan mencapai bobot maksimum sebelum seluruh sudut pesawat terisi dan menyisakan banyak ruang kosong. Dengan mahalnya operasional, ditambah banyaknya ruang kosong yang tak bisa dimanfaatkan, sudah barang tentu maskapai akan mengalami kerugian.Ketiga, dunia tentu tahu bahwa A380 adalah pesawat komersial terbesar di dunia dengan double decker. Bila dikonversi menjadi angkutan hanya kargo, justru konsep itulah yang menjadi penghalang. Dek bawah tentu masih dimungkinkan untuk memuat bobot maksimal. Namun, tidak demikian dengan dek kedua, dimana secara matematis, hanya mampu mengangkut setengah dari bobot atau untuk material ringan saja. Lagi-lagi, A380 menyisakan ruang yang tidak pernah bisa dimaksimalkan maskapai.Baca juga: HAECO Luncurkan Inovasi Mudahkan Kargo di Kabin PenumpangKeempat, efektivitas. Lokasi kokpit yang berada di dek bawah membuat proses bongkar muat kargo harus dilakukan perlahan-lahan ke sisi pesawat. Hal ini membuat efektivitas A380 dinilai buruk dan tak lebih baik dibanding angkutan kargo 747 yang bagian depannya dapat terbuka lebar.Sebelum berbagai analisa terkait berbagai kekurangan angkutan kargo A380 diungkap, beberapa raksasa kargo dunia, seperti UPS dan Fed Ex Express awalnya sempat berminat untuk memakai jasa pesawat super jumbo itu. Ketika masalah demi masalah muncul selama proses konstruksi dan bermuara pada temuan beberapa kelemahan yang cukup signifikan sebagai angkutan kargo, UPS dan Fed Ex Express pun mundur dan beralih ke Boeing.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading… RelatedScoot Ubah Airbus A320ceo dari Pesawat Penumpang Jadi Pengangkut Kargo25/08/2020In “Featured”Tak Ingin Meratapi Nasib, Hi Fly Ubah Airbus A380 Jadi ‘Varian’ Kargo Pertama di Dunia09/07/2020In “Featured”Terjadi Lagi, Pesawat Penumpang Dikonversi Jadi Pesawat Kargo Gegara Penerbangan Loyo17/07/2020In “Analisa Angkutan” Airbus A380. Sumber: helicecluster.com Pesawat komersial terbesar di dunia, Airbus A380 di atas kertas sebetulnya mempunyai semua prasyarat untuk dialihfungsikan menjadi angkutan kargo. Namun, pesawat ini dinilai terlalu berat dan mahal untuk dioperasikan dibanding dengan konversi pesawat kargo lainnya.Baca juga: Airbus Umumkan Produksi A380Ultra, Pesawat Mewah Tiga LantaiOleh karena itu, di tengah sepinya penumpang dan ketidakmampuan A380 merambah pangsa pasar kargo, praktis tak ada pilihan lain bagi maskapai kecuali ‘mengubur’ pesawat fenomenal abad 21 tersebut. Padahal, bila A380 mampu bersaing dengan pesawat lainnya, mungkin maskapai dapat sedikit terbantu.last_img read more

Pini aiming for A Olympic qualifying at Aussie Champs

first_imgPini made history last week winning his first ever gold medal at an Australian national championships.His last event will be the 50m backstroke on Wednesday.Team PNG has four swimmers taking part at the championships – Ryan Pini, Samuel Seghers, Ryan Maskelyne and Barbara Vali-Skelton.Seghers also has two events left, the 50m freestyle and 100m fly on Tuesday.Maskelyne has the 50 breaststroke also on Tuesday.Barbara Vali-Skelton, the only female competitor to represent PNG at these championships, will race her only event, 50m breaststroke on Wednesday.Three PNG records have been already been set at the championships, a gold medal and ‘B’ qualifying times.last_img