Sunday, April 8, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He discovered who the United States was fighting against in Syria.

In the wake of the Syrian government's apparent chemical weapon attack on civilians, Trump talked tough in his tweets about "animal Assad." He also identified Russia and Iran as backers of the Assad regime.

The tweets did not go further than acknowledging the basic reality of the war--that Russia has actively and openly supported Assad's government from the start--but simply acknowledging that Russia is not the United States' ally may be the closest Trump has ever come to criticizing the Putin regime.

Prior to the attack, Trump had been fighting with his own military leaders over his recently devised plans to quickly withdraw from the complex Syrian war. As Republicans and Democrats both quickly pointed out, Assad's willingness to use chemical weapons at this moment seems directly linked to Trump's plan to concede the field.

Long before announcing a timetable for withdrawal last week, candidate Trump criticized President Obama for announcing the conditions under which he would withdraw US troops from combat zones.

Why is this bad?

  • At some point, the actual current President of the United States of America needs to take responsibility for doing the job.
  • It isn't an act of toughness or bravery to acknowledge the basic facts of who is fighting on which side in a war.
  • Blaming other people for things you yourself are doing is hypocrisy, which is bad.
  • Presidents don't need to be military or diplomatic experts, but if they aren't, they need to be willing to listen to people who are before suddenly deciding on a course of action.
  • Twitter name-calling doesn't really accomplish much in a war where entire cities are being destroyed.