D.C.’s war madness, by Damon Linker.
The past week has been an immensely clarifying — and profoundly demoralizing — one in American politics. It has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the country’s foreign policy establishment, along with its leading center-right and center-left politicians and pundits, are hopelessly, perhaps irredeemably, deluded about the role of the United States in the world.
From the start of the 2016 Republican primaries on down through Donald Trump’s surprise electoral college victory, the transition, and the opening months of his administration, members of this foreign policy establishment and these leading politicians and pundits have been united in expressing dismay and alarm about Trump’s lack of temperamental and intellectual fitness to serve as commander-in-chief. Yet the moment Trump gave the order to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase used in a chemical weapons attack a few days earlier, all was forgotten and forgiven. Finally Trump became president! Finally he put Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his place! Finally the U.S. showed it had moved beyond former President Barack Obama’s reluctance to use military force!
It’s hard to know where to begin in formulating a response to this outpouring of delight at the thought of Trump giving the order to launch a barrage of deadly weapons at a sovereign nation over 5,000 miles from American shores. But let’s start with absolute basics: Launching even one missile at another country is not, as we euphemistically like to presume, a “military action,” a “military operation,” or even a “humanitarian intervention.” It is an act of war. Full stop. That many countries in the world, including Syria, are far too weak to consider launching a retaliatory counter-attack against the United States for such a bombardment is utterly irrelevant. How would a more powerful country — China, for example — respond if we fired even one cruise missile at its territory? How, for that matter, would we respond if China fired just one at us? …
Every country in the world thinks well of itself. But we’re the only country in the world that expects every other country to defer to our self-evident wonderfulness — apparently even when Trump is launching the missiles.
hat-tip Stephen Neil