Donald Trump’s War—Or Sound and Fury? by Daniel McCarthy.
Donald Trump’s decision to launch cruise missiles against a Syrian airbase last week has drawn deserved condemnation from his supporters — and won him strange new respect from John McCain and the mainstream media. Soon after the attack, the progressive media watchdog FAIR counted 18 op-eds in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Daily News supporting the action. There were, at first, no opposing views.
Trump is not yet a war president, however. Last week’s strikes pales in comparison to Ronald Reagan’s 1986 bombing of Libya or the routine bombing of Iraq that took place under George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, while the U.S. enforced a no-fly zone and other restrictions on Saddam Hussein’s regime. The closest parallel to Trump’s shot at Assad might be the “Monica missiles”: Clinton’s 1998 cruise-missile strike against a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. That pyrotechnic display, like Trump’s, accomplished nothing.
But it also was not the beginning of a deeper engagement in Sudan, and Trump may yet refrain from repeating in Syria the mistakes that George W. Bush and Barack Obama made in Iraq and Libya. If Americans are lucky, this attack will turn out to be sound and fury, signifying nothing. …
Trump never promised strict non-interventionism, and he made a point of saying his behavior in foreign policy would be unpredictable.
It means little if the cruise missile attack was just a signal not to use chemical weapons. It also makes the North Koreans take him more seriously. Even if the chemical attack was a false flag, as seems quite possible. I don’t see any signs that the US wants to get involved in the ugly civil war beyond defeating ISIS — good.
hat-tip Stephen Neil