The farce awakens: Trump’s shoulder-shrug foreign policy

After Bashar al-Assad’s regime yesterday bombed civilians in Idlib province with chemical weapons (including perhaps Sarin gas) our commander-in-chief could not have been more steadfast rock steady and resolute:

Statement from President Donald J. Trump

Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world. These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution. President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a “red line” against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack.

How dare Obama do this to the people of Syria! Bravo, Brass Donny. He certainly knows how to take the fight to the bad guys. Other than preening cowardice, are there any problems with Trump’s ‘statement’?

Well there’s the unlikelihood that Barack Obama would be capable of mounting a proper counter-strike from a Hawaiian beach armed only with a Mai Tai and a copy of Golf Digest.

There’s also the fun fact that if the Syrian regime were now pointing and laughing at anyone it would be the current president – the guy who’s most capable of having a say in the matter by perhaps starting a war there on a moment’s notice. But then that would involve bloodletting and dead bodies, and some of those would certainly be children. There’s a couple of really icky things the famously cooties-and-dirty-hands phobic billionaire would like to avoid.

We might also recall that, with regard to Syria, a survey of America’s most famous politicians would show the most strongly non-interventionist to be Donald Trump.

“The only reason President Obama wants to attack Syria is to save face over his very dumb RED LINE statement. Do NOT attack Syria,fix U.S.A.”

In more than a dozen messages on Twitter in 2013 and 2014, Mr. Trump repeated his advice, emphatically stating that “Syria is NOT our problem,” appealing directly to Mr. Obama to “not attack Syria” as “there is no upside and tremendous downside” and telling him to “stay out of Syria.”

There’s also a certain well-heeled despot slash 60 Minutes ‘stablemate’ whose exotic adventures Trump would want to avoid crashing.

Mr. Trump shrugged at calls to use force against Mr. Assad’s government and endorsed Russia’s support of the Syrian leader.

“You have Russia that’s now there. Russia’s on the side of Assad, and Russia wants to get rid of ISIS as much as we do, if not more, because they don’t want them coming into Russia,” Mr. Trump said in a September 2015 interview with CNN. “Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why do we care?”

But you say surely, blog guy, once candidate Donald pivoted to the mainstream or the general or the grey-haired gravitas, he came around to standard GOP ‘KILL’ orthodoxy? Isn’t that where he is now? Naw.

So emphatic was Mr. Trump’s stance on Syria that he disavowed the stance of his own running mate. After the October 2016 vice-presidential debate, when Mike Pence, then governor of Indiana, backed strikes against Mr. Assad, Mr. Trump stated, “I disagree.”

So what we have in the ‘President’s statement’ on the chemical weapons attack is our most famous non-interventionist strangely criticizing the past president for doing the right thing. For doing exactly what Donald Trump told him to do. Does anyone have a portmanteau for ‘nuclear’ and ‘hypocrisy’?

Anyway, you can imagine now the President’s problem. The smartest man in the world, who also happens to be the toughest man in the world, who of course has the world’s biggest balls, is now in charge of coming up with some sort of response to a horrific war crime. This is essentially the same crime from 2013 in the same hopelessly messed up place that Trump said we shouldn’t be too concerned with.

Let’s see what happens next. And let’s hear what his fans have to say. My money’s on muted calls of disappointment giving way to talk of cough-cough cowardice from America’s dithering commander-in-chief.

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