Trump: And You Thought I Was Kidding!
Are you confused whether Trump’s bombing of the Syrian airbase over Assad’s use of chemical weapons is:
- a contradiction of his campaign promises;
- or whether Trump is now a Neo-Con who believes in Nation Building;
- or has the President simply let his left leaning advisors to con in him to attacking Syria?
Well, none of the “conventional wisdom” is right and certainly the main stream media (MSM) is clueless as are most of the Republican insiders, Never Trumpers, right-wing isolationists, or self-professed “Conservatives”!
Did Trump know that he would be tested by the world’s bad actors early in his presidency. ABSOLUTELY.
- Syria: Did he know that Syria would use chemical weapons to test him? He probably had a test by Syria on his watch list of possible provocations as well as the following:
- North Korea: The President probably had a provocation by NoKo on his short list of potential tests.
- Iran: The President certainly had Iran on his short list of bad actors and potential provocateurs.
- Russia: The President probably did not think that Putin would come at the US directly but use one or more of his partners-in-crime, Iran or Syria.
- China: The President probably did not consider China a source of a military challenge due to our mutual need for trade and other common interests in the region.
Trump had contingency plans in place for all of the “A” list of bad actors and their possible provocative actions. Trump had a bucket full of escalation options for retaliation short of all out war or troop invasion. Trump also knew that if his retaliation was decisive enough he could use it to stalemate the rest of the bad actors.
What did President Trump Accomplish by Bombing Syria?
All of the potential threats from the bad actors were not necessarily negated but he certainly gave all of them pause. Further, the two military powers who use surrogates to test the US, Russia and China, were put on notice that the US would not tolerate threats to the US or stand idly by if weapons of mass destruction were used in combat.
What were the messages sent by Trump and received by the bad actors?
China: The US needs China to either act directly against North Korea’s nuclear program or at least not oppose action by the US to do so. The timing of the bombing was especially helpful as President Xi was concurrently meeting with President Trump. The timing of the bombing and the meeting was perfect as Trump’s words about dealing with North Korea if China would not was backed by his action against Syria. China now knows that what President Trump says is what he means. He is not necessarily diplomatic but he certainly says what he means, period.
North Korea: IF NoKo had a rational leader, which they do not, the Syrian bombing and China’s support of our policy of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula should give the North Korean leadership pause. It is doubtful that the NoKo leadership is neither rational nor well advised. NoKo will probably continue to test their nuclear weapons and delivery systems. China just moved 120,000 troops to their border with North Korea to prevent refugees from NoKo to come into China if the US moves to take out the NoKo nuclear program. Action by the US is imminent. Unfortunately, there is really no other option for the US vis-à-vis the denuclearization of the of the Korean Peninsula. We are probably looking at days, not weeks or months.
Iran: Iran will probably adopt a take a “look-see” posture for the time being and not directly take any action against the US. They will pound their chests and condemn the US but what else is new. They will oppose any diplomatic efforts to depose his ally, Assad. But, Iran now knows that Trump will continue to ratchet up sanctions and financial transaction scrutiny. They now know that what Trump says he will do.
Syria: Assad is not as nutty as North Korea but he could retaliate against US troops in Syria fighting ISIS. THIS IS ONE OF THE PRIMARY REASONS TRUMP HIT SYRIA FOR USING CHEMICAL WEAPONS AS THESE WEAPONS COULD HAVE BEEN USED AGAINST US TROOPS. IN FACT, I BELIEVE THAT THE ATTACK ON THE CIVILIANS WAS A DRY RUN TO SEE IF TRUMP WOULD REACT. IF HE HADN’T, ASSAD WOULD BE EMBOLDENED TO USE THESE WEAPONS AGAINST US TROOPS IN SYRIA. Syria will probably let Russia try to fend off the US and world-wide negative opinion until such time Assad is viewed as a liability to Putin.
Russia: Putin apparently received the message sent by Trump that Obama is no longer in charge. Trump stalemated Putin’s advances in the Middle East and probably Eastern Europe. Putin is now assessing what Trump is and what he represents to the future of Russia. IF Putin is smart, he will seek to get an agreement with Trump to keep his access to the Syrian naval ports and seek to transition Assad out of power. This will not be simple nor easy especially since the Alawites (Assad’s Shia group) will want to maintain power over Syria and its 90% Sunni population. Further, Iran sees Syria as key to their march towards dominating the Middle East with a Shia coalition of Iran, Syria and Afghanistan.
United Nations: President Trump and his Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, sent a strong message to the UN, and its members, that they are no longer relevant to the US, or the world, in determining US policy. We will take an issue to them as a matter of courtesy but our decision is based on America First and we will not wait for the Security Council to act, nor not. This is accentuated by President Trump cutting the US budget to the UN which is long overdue.
NATO: During the campaign candidate Trump made it clear that members of NATO would have to meet their financial obligations AND modernize and emphasize Counter Terrorism if they are to remain relevant and supported by the US. Message received and backed up by decisive action by the US in Syria. Too bad the other NATO nations did not initiate the reaction against Syria but perhaps they will be emboldened to do so in the future as they have post-Trump bombing of Syria.
So, while 59 Tomahawks and 59,000 pounds of explosives at a cost of $88,500,000 may not be considered by some as significant and others as over-kill, we probably saved over the $88,500,000 in costs for flights, hotel rooms and meals for overstuffed diplomats sitting around a table wringing their hands trying to figure out what to do about Syria, Iran, North Korea, ISIS, and Russia.
Trump planted our flag once again in the sacred ground referred to as the international community. Time will tell the extent of the fall-out from Trump’s actions but there is no doubt that his action resulted in
“MESSAGE SENT-MESSAGE RECEIVED”.