It increasingly appears that the Syrian attack was intended to put pressure on China to end the North Korean nuclear threat.
April 11, 2017: A Chinese daily newspaper (Global Times) known for being a state-controlled media outlet used to test new ideas published an item today pointing out that if North Korea does not abandon its nuclear weapons program (which is seen as a threat to China) then China will bomb the nuclear facilities and North Korea will have to live with that or suffer further military and economic consequences they cannot respond to (by attacking China). This article also warned the United States not to contemplate doing this, as North Korea was for neighbor China to deal with, not some distant superpower. Within hours the article was removed from the Global Times website, but many people had seen it and it still existed in Google cache. In other words, China was telling North Korea that stronger measures from China were now a possibility. At the same time the U.S. was making it clear that the kind of attack on Syria the U.S. recently carried out could be tried on North Korea. China agrees that it might come to that but they insist that the bombs or missiles be Chinese.
My current thinking is that the attack on Syria was intended to let Premier Xi know that Trump meant what he was saying about North Korea, and that if China did not swiftly address the situation, the US naval forces being sent to the Sea of Japan would be utilized instead. This also means that the US will have additional assets in place if North Korea were to respond to a Chinese attack by attacking South Korea.
I’ve never thought it was an accident that the attack took place during the meeting between Trump and Xi. It also tends to answer the question that has been plaguing the Trump-doubters, which is why Trump would suddenly appear to do an about-face on Syria. But Trump still doesn’t care about Syria or see it in the national interest, he simply needed something to blow up in order to make it clear to Xi that he would actually follow through on his threats. And I think Trump actually agrees with the Chinese in that he, too, would prefer that any bombs or missiles dropped on North Korea be Chinese rather than American.
If this is the correct interpretation of events, and if the Syria attack causes the Chinese to remove the Kim dynasty from power in North Korea, it will be seen as a brilliant grand strategic move on the God-Emperor’s part. It will also demonstrate that Trump not only is not controlled by the neocons, but that he doesn’t need them at all.