It is hard to comprehend how bad President Trump’s recent tweets about Syria have been. First, though, let’s go through the sequence.
“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price...
…to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!”
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
“Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our ‘Thank you America?’”
The tweet of April 8 is mostly juvenile, but that is not unusual for President Trump, so let’s skip that one.
In spite of what President Trump tried to say this morning, his April 11 tweet was not only a threat but also, in effect, an announcement of a military operation. That is appalling. Let’s go through the reasons. First, if what President Obama said in 2012 about Syria’s use of chemical weapons was a red line (and I think it was), this is a double red line. To not follow through now would be a sign of real weakness – and a signal to Bashar al-Assad that he can continue to use chemical weapons. Not to mention making the United States look weak and ineffective.
Second, by telling the Syrians and Russians that missiles are coming, we let them get prepared to defend against an attack and, maybe, figure out how to fight back. You don’t give the other side advance notice of a military attack. (Obviously, Teddy Roosevelt had the right idea.)
Third, while I do not know for sure, but it seems to me that by announcing the operation ahead of time, President Trump may be increasing the risk to our military. I see no reason for that; it’s unacceptable.
I don’t understand President Trump’s tweet of this morning. Didn’t he understand what he was saying on Wednesday? Is he backtracking now? It doesn’t make sense. As for the “Where is our ‘Thank you America?’” comment, we are back to junior high school tweets. It’s not what a leader of a serious country does.
One final point. From time to time, I have commented on President Trump’s foreign policy. I am going to stop. I am getting tired of it. It takes too much time, and it is depressing to keep thinking about how bad some of his foreign policy is.