Biden’s Airstrike on Syria: The Dangerous Expectations of Newly-Elected Presidents

By Phoebe Weinstein

New York City, New York

Biden’s airstrike on Syria upholds a violent tradition of newly-elected presidents asserting their power by bombing areas of the Middle East (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

On February 25, the United States military conducted an airstrike on Syria targeting Iranian-backed militia groups. The strike was in response to attacks on American forces in the area. It was authorized by President Joe Biden and criticized by many who doubted the president’s congressional approval. The airstrike was carried out by two F15s dropping Joint Direct Attack Munitions, originally intended to strike a different area that was changed to protect Syrian citizens possibly in direct proximity.


The airstrike, which killed multiple militants, has been defended as a necessary repercussion for Iranian proxies targeting the United States, such as the recent attack on American coalition forces on February 15 in Iraq. The right to airstrike is arguably protected by the Constitutional Article II and the United Nations charter, though the moral implications of this attack are very debatable.


With the election of Biden and the defeat of President Donald Trump, many Americans hoped for both national and international progress. Biden’s airstrike on Syria, however, upholds a violent and exhausting tradition of newly-elected United States presidents asserting their power by bombing areas of the Middle East, as well as representing the same American international military entanglements that many have been coined as a Forever War. Not only does this attack set a dangerous precedent for stagnancy in foreign affairs, but it also threatens the Washington and Tehran negotiations about Iranian nuclear programs. Biden must consider the moral and international ramifications of such actions before prioritizing his own assertions of presidential power.