At noon on April 10 in Palmer Square, a lone guitarist stood next to an anti-war sign to protest the United States cruise missile strike on Syria. That musician was Fred Stein, an active member of the Libertarian Party who believes strongly in limiting U.S. foreign involvement and in “minding our own business” on a national scale.
On April 6, President Donald Trump launched 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base after that nation launched a chemical weapons attack in the Idlib Province – though Syria had previously claimed it was rid of chemical weapons like the sarin that was used in that attack. The American strike marks a higher military engagement in Syria, which was condemned by allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as crossing a red line.
Stein said he worries that President Trump’s actions in Syria will provoke war, which “would be very dangerous for our lives and our economy.” He expressed frustration that “we haven’t learned from our mistakes” in Iraq and Libya, and he mentioned that further involvement in the Middle East would only strengthen terrorist groups like ISIS.
Stein also said that the U.S. attack on Syria will encourage leaders who oppose U.S. interventionism to start amassing nuclear weapons as a form of deterrence. He added that nuclear weapons have become North Korea’s “trump card, in more ways that one.”
While discussing the motivation behind the attack, Stein said he thinks that Trump decided to attack Syria to distract from the scandals plaguing his administration, as well as to bolster his case for increasing military spending, which Stein feels is already “excessive.”
Most recently, Trump and high-ranking members of his administration have been suspected of colluding with Russian officials to influence the 2016 presidential contest. In Syria, the Kremlin is backing al-Assad, while the U.S., under former President Barack Obama, funded and trained rebels and the Free Syrian Army.
Stein said he plans to remain very involved in politics and in the Libertarian Party, by contacting his representatives, calling into radio shows, and talking to his friends and neighbors.