Cheap Seats 2017
President in Training - 04/19
By Rich Trzupek
The past couple of weeks have been a pleasant, and for this humble correspondent, unexpected surprise. While the ludicrous “Trump is in Putin’s pocket” leftist noise never made any sense, the President’s quick response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons came as a surprise, at least to me. Trump campaigned as an isolationist, a stance that Russia, China and most of Europe would thoroughly approve of, but he has acted as an interventionist.
That behavior creates issues for segments among the left and the right. The far-left’s response is two-fold: a) Trump is not fulfilling his campaign promises, and b) Trump is being overly-aggressive and thus endangering world peace.
The far-right response is similar in part, but not the same. The far-right laments that: a) Trump is not fulfilling his campaign promise, and b) Trump is needlessly expending American treasure and lives in a hopeless attempt to defeat insanity.
It’s early, but it looks to me like Trump is doing the right thing, the right thing being listening to the military professionals in our armed services. That’s what Presidents do, at least it’s what they should do.
The response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons was measured and sent a clear message to the Syrian dictator: there’s a new sheriff in town. That’s a message that needs to be delivered if Assad and his Russian handlers are ever going to start to behave.
Syria is, of course, a mess. While the US wants Assad to behave, it’s not in our interest, or in the interest of the civilized world, to have ISIS replace Assad as ruler of Syria. Is there a viable third option? Maybe, but I doubt one emerges unless Putin can be convinced to butt out.
The Syrian Civil War is, like most wars in that screwed up part of the world, mostly a religious war. The Assad family are Alawi, a branch of Islam related to Shia and which represents a little over 10 percent of the Syrian populace. The majority of Syrians are Sunni and many of them support ISIS, hoping to put the Alawi minority back in their place as they perceive it.
I doubt that Trump, or his military leaders, want to put American boots on the ground in Syria and personally, I don’t think we should either. However, Assad has got to know that there are consequences to unacceptable behaviors. Red lines need to mean something.
Trump also made the right decision by supporting his commanders use of MOAB to clear out a cave complex in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan. As many veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have observed, it makes no sense to risk American lives to strike in an area known to be used by the enemy and where no innocent civilians live when we have weapons like MOAB and Tomahawk missiles.
Many liberals hate any show of American force, believing that actions like these make America a bully in the world’s eyes and escalate tensions. In fact, reasonable people in the world applaud when America slaps down bullies like ISIS, and I guarantee you that if you slap hard enough, the bully will start to think twice before he picks on somebody.
I am not saying that one bomb is going to eliminate ISIS. I am saying that ISIS is going to have a much harder time keeping their caliphate going in the months and years to come.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, predictably, wasn’t happy about the use of MOAB to take out a nest of vipers. “As is the case with every part of Trump’s foreign policy, we are all trying to understand: what is the strategy?” she said.
Retired Marin Gunnery Sergeant Jessie Jane Duff tweeted a most succinct response to Warren’s query: “To kill the bastards Senator”.