Donald Trump is receiving a lot of support for his decision to unleash Cruise missiles on Syria. Even Hillary Clinton agreed with his decision. However, Jonathan Freeland writes that, while the missiles sent a message, no one should forget who sent it:
On Syria, Donald Trump has performed a U-turn so screeching, so dizzying, you can smell the burned rubber from here. Just 72 hours before these airstrikes, his administration was all but flashing a green light at Assad, hinting that he could do what he liked. Pull back further, and the volte-face is even more stunning. For years, Trump was adamant that he would stay out of Syria. Even when chemical weapons were used in August 2013, killing an estimated 1,300 people in Ghouta, Trump was firm: “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long-term conflict?” he tweeted. It’s the abandonment of that stance that has so disappointed Trumpists such as Hopkins, Nigel Farage and the neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer. They thought they were getting a true isolationist in the Oval Office.
It amounts to schizophrenic foreign policy. And, rather than protesting the murder of young children, the attack on Syria conveniently changes the channel:
How convenient that Trump, under fire for being Vladimir Putin’s poodle, now stands up to him in Syria. How neatly this blows away all those allegations of secret links and election hacking. Yes, there have been ample statements of condemnation from Moscow, but those don’t cost either side anything. The US appears to have given Russia sufficient warning to ensure their men weren’t hit, and Russia used none of its ample capacity to hit back. It all worked out very nicely.
Moreover, as Mrs. Clinton noted:
What makes his newfound compassion ring all the more hollow is that while Trump is ready to bomb a runway for those beautiful babies who are dead, he still won’t let America open its doors to those who cling to life. Refugees from Syria remain on Trump’s banned list, including every “child of God” traumatised by Assad and his barrel bombs, raining fire from the sky.
Mr. Trump is still looking out for No. 1.