The airstrikes by the United States and its coalition against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad eventually happened. But one would say that it came far too late and a big opportunity was lost for the West.
Now, even if the West led by US President Donald Trump and other heads of state are trying to take a moral stand on the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons against its own people to get rid of the rebels, one will still suspect it as a desperate bid to divert attention from the domestic issues that are causing much trouble for some of the western leaders.
While Trump was always having tough challenges at home, French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May are neither having an easy going in their respective countries at the moment.
The action came far far late
Whatever might be the reason, the West's attempt to get Syria free from the clutches of "Animal" Assad a long seven years after the blood thirsty war started looks more as a forced measure to show the world its 'human' face than a genuine concern to protect the hapless people of Syria.
Trump's hollow concern for Syria
Trump's concern for Syria looks hollow because till recently, he was trying to hold a summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. But in the wake of the Stormy Daniels case, he has been found taking a harsher stand on Moscow - be it through expulsion of diplomats in the wake of the Skripals' poisoning or executing retaliation over Syria.
The current American president has exhibited an intent of not involving in other countries' affairs earlier but after the 'extremist' John Bolton took over as the national security adviser to Trump last week, the White House seems to have returned to the hawkish Republican days of armed intervention.
In the aftermath of the never-ending crises in Afghanistan and Iraq that have disappointed the common people of the western democracies who find such military actions a colossal waste of money and human lives, the western leaders turned indifferent towards foreign affairs even if they saw ruthless butchering of its own people by a dictatorial regime.
Reminds of West's wait and watch policy against Hitler
But the lid of the pressure cooker now seems to have flown away with the elected leaders finding other threats to their authority in terms of popular dissent. And they found an enemy to unite against when the fact is that the same enemy had remained there for the last seven years.
In the 1930s, too, the world had seen the west adopting an appeasement policy towards Adolf Hitler till they realised that it was too dangerous, eventually resorting to a military action to neutralise the Fascist leader. Something similar is happening in Syria now.
By failing to use up the crucial time to stop Assad, the West has allowed other powers like Russia and Iran to fill the void created and now, a country's internal problem has magnified into a full-fledged regional challenge where too many interests are at odds and it has become too complex an issue to be settled by conducting air strikes.
Military action hasn't solved the Afghanistan and Iraq problems either and pushed those once stable countries into utter chaos with no solution in sight. Syria could also go to a similar direction today if Assad tumbles. And if that is something the West thought about finally, it could have been done long ago and a lot of lives could have been saved.
Former American president Barack Obama and former British PM David Cameron had failed to enforce things against Assad - something that changed the course of the conflict towards the latter's advantage and went on building on the confidence gained thereby.
It is very unlikely that he would be deterred by the successors of Obama and Cameron either by the missile strikes and would continue to amass those devastating weapons behind the shield it has managed to procure through the support of Russia and Iran. As the side effect of this delayed action, the other conflicts related to this problem between parties that have made themselves relevant in this would only get worse.
The West might just have created a third abyss after Afghanistan and Iraq.