Thursday, April 13, 2017
Last week, I posted my analysis that the Trump ordered missile attack on Syria in response to Syrian President Assad’s use of chemical weapons was both right AND stupid. “Right” because when some evil bastard uses chemical weapons against an innocent population, it cries for a few dozen missiles to be lobbed in the general direction of the evil bastard in question. And “stupid” because there’s a whole lot of consequences, not a lot of them good, when one lobs a few dozen missiles in the direction of anyone, even evil bastards who use chemical weapons against an innocent population.
In the wake of this action, Trump received a lot of praise for his decisive action, including kudos from former Obama foreign policy officials who were not happy that their boss dithered when faced with the same scenario.
What is of concern is, did Trump think, “Hey, there are a lot of bad outcomes if we stick our nose… not to mention our Tomahawk missiles… into this. But damn, Assad used chemical weapons on innocent people and he needs to answer for that.” Or given Trump’s disposition against nuanced thinking, did he just skip to the latter part of that: “Assad bad. Shoot missiles. Feel good.”
There were reports that the impetus for Trump’s action was his daughter Ivanka who apparently was very distressed over the images coming out of Syria of the gas attack victims, particularly of the children suffering. Well, good for her to have a heart filled with compassion and empathy for the suffering of others. But a President shouldn’t make policy decisions based on the emotional state of his children.
So Trump may have made the “right” decision but for selfish reasons: he can look tough, act decisive and show he can stand up to Russia. It appears Trump made a decision that served his own interests with no regard for the long term fallout. He may have made the “right” decision. To be blunt, if I were President, I would’ve done the same thing: some acts are so evil, we have to shove some Tomahawk missiles up someone’s ass. But before everyone gets too giddy that trump did a “big boy President” thing, it’s important to consider what was the process that got Trump to that point.
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