President Donald #trump has gotten kudos for his strike on the Syrian airfield from an unexpected source. A number of former Obama administration staffers have congratulated him on a job well done. Some even offered a slam against the president they used to work for. According to Politico, one former senior staffer opined, “Our administration would never have gotten this done in 48 hours. It’s a complete indictment of Obama.”
The outpouring of praise for Trump’s missile attack on the Syrian airfield suggests that a lot of discontent existed among foreign and national security policy people during the Obama years over that president’s passive approach to the atrocities that had been committed by the Assad regime as the Syrian Civil War consumed the region..
The contrast between Trump and Obama cannot be starker. Trump, the decisive man of action, looks pretty good, even to Democrats, when compared with Obama the passive ditherer. For “Star Trek” fans that contrast is like Captain Kirk vs. Jean Luc Picard. Many in the Washington #Foreign Policy establishment felt relieved. Maybe they also feel a little guilty for serving a president who allowed horrors to happen why doing little but wring his hands about it in public.
To be sure the isolationist crowd on both sides of the political spectrum is appalled. Sen Rand Paul opined that the missile strike is likely illegal and that Trump must go before Congress for permission to do it again. Some on the left, including MSNBC's Chris Matthews, have resorted to conspiracy theories, While the international community is generally supportive, conspicuous exceptions include Russia, Iran, and of course Assad’s Syria..
Ever since Trump managed to defy expectations by getting elected, political observers have wondered what his foreign policy would be. Would he be an America first isolationist willing to see the world burn so long as the #United States will not get involved? Or would Trump become a mad bomber ready to send in the military at any moment?
It looks like Trump has decided to be in the mainstream of foreign policy, neither isolationist nor interventionist. He, thus far, seems to be aligned with Reagan insofar as the use of military force is concerned.
Trump is also dealing with the other foreign crisis that he had inherited in Korea with similar deftness. He is hinting that the United States is prepared to deal with North Korea’s pursuit of missiles to deliver nuclear weapons against the United States with great vigor. But he is also encouraging North Korea’s master, China, to deal with the problem quietly.
Trump is thus far proving to be willing to be active in world affairs, just not too active.