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Sat Apr 8, 2017, 12:19 PM

Rolling Stone - What to Make of Trump's About-Face on Syria [View all]

Why did Trump oppose intervention when over a thousand Syrians were killed in chemical attacks, but launched a missle strike almost immediately after about 80 people were killed shortly after declaring that the U.S. was no longer in the business of opposing the Assad regime?

A reasonable argument could have been made for intervention if the U.S. had been consistent in explaining why the international community could not tolerate the casual use of WMDs. But, to offer mix messages and military action with the impulsivity of a tweet is dangerous.


There are several ways to look at Donald Trump's abrupt about-face on Syria. One is that Thursday night's Tomahawk missile strike on an airbase near Homs a so-called "proportional response" to the Assad regime's apparent sarin gas attack on Tuesday was a cave to the Pentagon and a signal that at long last "the adults have taken control," as a military source, echoing the entire D.C. foreign policy establishment, puts it. Some believe a nascent national security strategy may be in the works. On the other hand, Trump is Trump.

Thursday evening, shifty eyed and uncomfortable in front of dual teleprompters at Mar-a-Lago, Trump made a scripted assertion that it was in the "vital national security interest of the United States" to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons like sarin. "The use of that term, 'vital national interest,' was most welcome, and I agree," says one former Pentagon official. "The prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is in our vital national interest as well as the vital interests of our allies. Now the administration needs to flesh out our remaining vital national interests and build a strategy that meets those interests."

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"People are so hungry to believe that they have a solid, 'presidential' commander-in-chief at the helm that they are willing to overlook everything Donald Trump said before Thursday including on Monday and Tuesday," says Daniel Benaim, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and a former Obama administration official. "But there's nothing presidential about launching missiles in service of a policy that didn't exist until a few days ago. And when it comes to each new declaration that now is the moment when Trump finally became 'presidential,' people get tired of buying the same horse twice. Launching a few missiles from offshore is in some ways the easy part, and the one that better fits the impulsive nature of a president who seems to think more in macho gestures to win news cycles than long-term politico-military strategies to end wars.

"The bigger question is whether the experienced members of Trump's team can help him leverage this short-term burst of American power projection toward a strategy to hasten the end of a civil war that has been wrecking the country and sucking foreign powers into a vortex of instability," Benaim says. "Strategy not strikes should be the measure of presidential leadership."

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Reply Rolling Stone - What to Make of Trump's About-Face on Syria [View all]
TomCADem Apr 2017 OP
guillaumeb Apr 2017 #1
stevenleser Apr 2017 #2
cheyanne Apr 2017 #3
L. Coyote Apr 2017 #4
Wellstone ruled Apr 2017 #5
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Wellstone ruled Apr 2017 #8
L. Coyote Apr 2017 #9
Wellstone ruled Apr 2017 #10
yurbud Apr 2017 #6