Friday, April 7, 2017

President Trump Reacts In a New Way

Last night, President Trump called on our military to fire about 60 Tomahawk missiles on an airbase in Syria.  This is a response to the chemical attacks on his own people by Assad and his government. This was a message to the Syrian and Russian government that these kinds of attacks must stop. There is a lot to say about this action and the fact that the Trump administration did it.  It actually is a surprise that he did this as he has been so vocal about not attacking Syria, including earlier this week. In fact the voices of the voice of the Secretary of State and the President earlier this week may have figured into the equation of the Syrian military to go ahead with this attack.

So what do I say?  Well, the first thing is the old saw that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose.  This is the first time in the Trump administration that I see a President acting like a grown-up and leader of the free world.  The irony of it is that President Trump did exactly what Sec. Hillary Clinton suggested that he should do and the opposite of candidate Trump said over and over again.  I think what the President did shows that we must all, supporters and critics, that governance is not easy.  I am glad that the President decided that he had a role in the world when a leader decides to begin killing his or her own people with weapons of mass destruction.

But the politics come into this. In 2013 when then President Obama wanted to respond to the Syrian dictator using gas on his own people, he went to Congress for approval and was denied.  That hung around his neck and will be part of his legacy.  But today we hear many in Congress and the internet foreign policy self-appointed experts hear people saying the President acted illegally and should  have gotten Congress's approval.  While likely technically true, the Congress has long since given up holding Presidents accountable when they simply state there actions are in the interest of US security. I am happy to see some Democrats saying that the was a necessary response but an escalation would require the Congress to be involved.  I assume the GOP will agree.

There is a lot I could say about the politics of this, I can make jokes about the tsunami of old tweets by the President and many on the right that sound so hypocritical today.  I could discuss the fact that the same President that wasn't moved by dead babies drowning to flee the actions like the gas attack now is moved by the gas attack.  I could talk about the supporters of this President who were isolationists and now cheering this on.  But I won't, yet.  What I will say that this use of force was something that while terrible, was probably necessary in light of the war crimes he committed.  Now we can see what happens next and if the President wants to do more.  This is complicated, one air strike is not the answer, but it sets up a table that will get more complicated and I hope that our government and especially our President will use brain and not play to the crowd.  That we focus on the issue and develop something of a plan moving forward.  My fear is as it has been all along with President Trump, he is way out of his depth.  Glad that this time he listened to smart people who work for him.

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