“North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.” – Donald Trump tweet 4-11-17
According to Donald Trump’s son Eric, the President ordered the launch of 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian government air base in large part because his daughter Ivanka was “heartbroken and outraged” by the images of children being “sprayed down by hoses to keep their skin from burning.” Certainly I agree, as a father nothing is more difficult to view than pictures of children that have been harmed in any way.
But how about the pictures of thousands upon thousands of children behind fences in refugee camps. Or the video of children trudging through a wasteland of sand trying to find a home beyond the range of bullets and bombs. Why don’t those images tug at Ivanka’s heartstrings? Trump’s 59 cruise missiles were a simply a shot across the bow for someone’s benefit but I am not sure whose, maybe Ivanka’s, possibly poll numbers or maybe the Chinese.
I remain unsure if this was the proper response to the Syrian gas attacks. I am sure about this though, the tough talk he is spewing about the North Koreans is the same tough talk he should be belching out about the Russians and their role in Syria.
One of my readers commented that we should be sending Vladimir Putin a thank-you note for not declaring war on the United States for bombing their ally Syria. This reader contends that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to implicate Russia in its role in the Syrian gas attack or Assad’s for that matter. But there are three things I haven’t heard after this attack, I haven’t heard anything from the Russians condemning the gas attack. I haven’t heard anything from Iran condemning the gas attack. And I haven’t heard anything from President Trump condemning Russia or Iran for their support of the Bashar al-Assad regime. What we have seen is this, the Iranians have joined the Russians in their expression of undying support for President Assad and his brutal atrocities against the Syrian people.
My reader stated that “Presidents often speak through their surrogates because it avoids antagonizing other countries whose allies you just bombed without sufficient evidence”. I get it. But why is it okay for the President to poke North Korea with a sharp stick and not the Russians? What kind of message does that send? Kim Jong-un is a crazy fat kid with nuclear weapons. If Trump launched the missiles at Syria to improve his poll numbers as some have speculated, Kim Jong-un will launch his at us for the sheer entertainment of watching things go BOOM!
Eric Trump and Trump supporters say this missile strike proves once and for all that there is no Trump-Russian connection, “If there was anything that [the strike on] Syria did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie.” But I am not buying it. The administration warned Russia prior to the attack giving the Russians and Syrians ample time to relocate both personnel and equipment, which apparently they did. Damage to the airfield has been described as minimal and the airfield was operational within 24 hours. As we would expect, Fox News had a much different spin calling the results destructive, appropriate, Presidential and offering the headline “Grateful Syrians React To Trump Strike: ‘I’ll Name My Son Donald'”
Here is my bottom line, the President appears to be flying by the seat of his pants in regards to the official US position on Syria. Not really a big surprise. I am not sure he has an official position on anything other than playing as much golf as possible (Donald Trump’s travel to his private club in Florida has cost over an estimated $20 million in his first 80 days as president, putting the president on pace in his first year of office to surpass former President Barack Obama’s spending on travel for his entire eight years) while not saying anything disparaging about the Russians. His silence about Vladimir Putin’s involvement in Syria is deafening. We are hearing strong words about Syria, Assad and the Russians from Nikki Haley and Rex Tillerson but are they really the thoughts and position of our President? He could clear this up very easily and he has certainly had ample opportunities too. Instead we get…………silence.