Thursday, April 6, 2017

Why Did Trump Attack Syria?

Like all coverage of Donald Trump, the coverage of his Syria military action is a complete non-sequitur.  The typical analysis goes something like this:
  • Trump does one-eighty on Syria
  • After saying Assad can stay, Trump now changes his mind
  • Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Syria, now does complete pirouette

All of that is true, and yet Donald Trump has also said:
  • I never take anything off the table  
  • Everything is subject to change based on the facts on the ground and what the Generals say
  • I will not lead from behind
  • I won't tell you what I'm going to do militarily because surprise is an effective weapon
  • Obama was wrong to declare a red line and then let Assad cross it without consequences

In the context of the second group, Trump's Syria action is not inconsistent.  Obama told us he got the chemical weapons out.  He didn't.  Now Assad has used them again on civilians and children.  The facts changed. The POTUS changed. Trump acted.

New Presidents are always being tested.  Even though this was a limited strike, it was swift and decisive.  Assad, Putin, and Khamenei, now know they are dealing with a new President unafraid to act.

Unfortunately, the results of military action are always unpredictable and risky.   This response constitutes a new red line.   We can only pray the response is de-escalation and not the opposite. Amen.

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