Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He blamed President Obama for today's gas attack in Syria.

Reacting to news that the Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against civilians, the Trump administration immediately released a statement blaming President Obama's "weakness and irresolution" in dealing with Syria.

To the extent that the Trump administration has a Syria policy, it is far more hands-off than President Obama's. Trump has repeatedly signaled that he regards Bashar al-Assad as a valuable potential ally in the fight against the Islamic State. Just last week, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley made plain that the US under Trump had stopped supporting regime change in Syria, telling reporters that "our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out."

As a private citizen in 2013, Trump adamantly opposed taking any action against the Assad regime, and flatly commanded "OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER [Obama]" not to attack it. 

Why is this a bad thing?

  • A president's first priority when confronted with a war crime should not be to score points against a political rival.
  • Presidents who find their would-be strategic allies using weapons of mass destruction should rethink their strategy.
  • It is probably not a coincidence when a war criminal commits atrocities immediately after a U.S. president indicates tacit support for that war criminal.
  • There is a reason why "it's not my fault!" is not an acceptable response to crisis from the most powerful person in the world.