CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – A political analyst at Coastal Carolina University admits she was surprised by the U.S. airstrike on Syria that happened Thursday.
The strike was in response to a chemical attack against the Syrian population.
"Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children," President Donald Trump said.
Holley Tankersley said the action was a "clear humanitarian issue," as well as a chance for the Trump administration to show they would "act distinctly from the Obama administration."
Tankersley said the Obama administration used diplomatic ties to talk about issues with the Middle East, using what could be seen as a "leading from the back approach" because direct action was always a risky move due to the region's complex "web of entanglement."
"In Syria, you have Iran, Iraq, you have issues with Turkey and the Turkish government that come out of that. Russia is in Syria, you have ISIS," Tankersley said. "So you have all of these different players in different conflicts within the region and anything you do within that country then is going to set off a chain reaction," she explained.
Tankersley said while some Trump supporters believe this action takes away from the idea of "putting America first," the feedback so far has been mostly positive. She added this is not unusual when a president takes military action and that support is coming from other foreign powers as well.
"I think you're starting to see that in statements from world leaders, almost as though they were waiting on the U.S. to act so that they had backup as well," she said.
However, Tankersley said this marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Middle East and Syria, and it will be tough to navigate
"(It's) because Vladimir Putin and the Russian government have come out and said that they are unhappy, that they think this is a provocation and it shouldn't have happened," she said. "They have always, of course, backed Assad and Assad Syrian government. So I think to see how the Trump administration navigates the Russia issue in the context of Syria will be interesting."