I won’t mince words: Trump’s decision to launch missiles into Syria is a disaster. In reactions across the internet I am seeing justifications but in no way do the advantages come close to outweighing the costs.
I will address a few:
Trump wanted to intimidate China and North Korea
I doubt the Chinese president is easily frightened and making Kim Jong Un too nervous or desperate could turn Seoul and then the whole Korean peninsula into a smoking crater.
Russians and Syrians had time to evacuate/runways weren’t destroyed etc.
It’s still an act of war on another nation’s territory. You don’t get brownie points or gold star stickers for playing nice at war. These measures prevented immediate escalation to actual war but has worsened relations that were already pretty bad for no real reason. If the goal was to get rid of ISIS why is the US attacking the people who were successully getting rid of ISIS?
That’ll Shut Up the Media About Russian Conspiracy Theories!
This didn’t stop Trump in the election when he was far more vulnerable, it certainly wasn’t going to stop his presidency. Wiretapping ploys and Rice unmaskings were already effectively countering the fake hysteria. Nothing about this relatively small problem required a risky foreign policy move.
Trump showed those pansies he’s not another wimpy Obama!
Trump got elected in part because his opponent was openly agitating for war with Russia and Syria that no one wants. Obama and Hillary’s disastrous Syria policy helped ISIS form in the first place! Now we’re back to square one after spending nearly two years on the election?
The Syrians were gassing their own peoplez! Look at the cute dead kidz!
We all know this was just an excuse. It’s irrelevant whether it’s fabricated or not. Trump’s whole America First campaign was a reaction to this kind of moralistic world policing.
The most rational possible reason I can think of for this idiocy is Trump has to make some concessions to the neocons or they would have just let the democrats filibuster Gorsuch indefinitely.
Trump’s administration desperately depends on getting new justices into the supreme court. For millions of American voters who did not like Trump, that’s the one issue that pushed them over the edge. Furthermore, he desperately needs to break the impasse that is preventing him from acting decisively on immigration, the single biggest issue that put him in power.
I recognize it’s a tough situation, a sacrifice of some kind may have been necessary to grease the wheels, but I do not think this sacrifice was worth it.
The optics of attacking Syria right as Hillary came out and asked for it, with all the neocons celebrating afterwards is terrible.
It has just been openly demonstrated that no matter who you vote for, you still get pointless bombs and wars in the Middle East while the same old elites pat each other on the back.
Over $100 million dollars worth of cruise missiles just got dumped on a distant land most Americans could care less about for no real gain.
These conspicuous displays of waste while dams are crumbling and highways are burning down at home starts to sound a lot like just another chorus of “let them eat cake.”
So now Gorsuch is in, a key victory for Trump. But the meta is even more important.
Now that Americans have seen appointed federal judges can block anything they don’t like…
Now that they’ve seen you get war and bombs in the Middle East no matter who you vote for…
The whole democracy really starts to look like a thinly veiled fiction. And if that last veil gets stripped away, judges are just silly ugly old people in robes playing make-believe and all you have left is force.
From the start of his campaign, Trump shrewdly sought to curry favor with the military. He understood if he was going to go against the entire political establishment, he would need solid backing to stay in power against contrived coups.
Unfortunately, we might be discovering a hard truth that neo-con politicians are just the political arm of the military top brass.
Generals tend to be establishment to the core and incestuously in bed with military industrial contractors. So perhaps we’ve found the limits of what voting can accomplish.
Some grudging concessions on immigration and jobs perhaps, but the flow of trillions to contractors who pretend to design fighter planes and wars in the interests of the US’ biggest arms customers must continue.
The problem is the country is being bled dry and the farce is becoming obvious to millions. Generals can’t really seize power directly until their troops are willing to fire on fellow citizens and if they tried that, they’d find their authority doesn’t go as far outside the beltway as they think.
So Trump still has considerable bargaining power even though he’s under a lot of pressure—if he wants to use it. In retrospect perhaps we can now see the coils tightening. Flynn replaced with someone more in line with the innermost circles and now possibly Bannon getting edged out of favor?
At this time all we can do is wait and see what happens next.