Foreign policy: keep them guessing has its merits but the American people have a need to know…

I was surprised to hear that after the Syria missile strike ordered by President Trump on a Syrian airfield from which airplanes that dropped chemical weapons operated that the base was still operable and that in fact planes took off and some reports said bombed places where victims of chemical attacks were being treated.

Billions of dollars worth of Tomahawk missiles and the base was not destroyed? What is up with all that? I guess the idea is that it was just a message. An awful expensive message.

But it was a message, as is the fact that a U.S. naval task force is steaming toward another troublesome area, the waters off North Korea. Trump is trying to send a message to Kim Jong-un, the nutcase in charge there, too.

All of this is dangerous maneuvering and many wonder if the president really has a plan.  Actually I think most of us fairly well know he has none — he just does stuff off the cuff, on a whim, maybe by intuition (gut instinct).

The bad side of no plan is that things can go terribly wrong and just get worse from there. But the good side right now I think is that it is keeping our adversaries off balance.

But there does need to be a plan, a method to all this madness.

And then there is a the question as to whether Trump should have gotten congressional approval for the strike on Syria.

It seems like the technical answer is yes. And further moves would certainly seem to need congressional approval. But President Obama found that congress, especially the opposing Republican party, was good at criticizing him for not acting but was unwilling to back him when he proposed to do so. Actually Obama claimed that he would not need approval, he just preferred it.

So waiting for congress to act — good luck. They don’t want to be blamed for anything, just complain.

Most of our recent actions in the Middle East are working off the George W. Bush war on terror resolution that congress approved (a catchall for perpetual war). But since Trump was not striking at ISIS or other terror groups but the Assad regime of Syria, it would seem that it would not apply.

But in my adult life congress has seemed to abrogate its constitutional duty to be the one to declare war, deferring to the president.

I would have to do some good research to really address that issue. And I have not at this time.

Make no mistake, with Trump at the helm we are in a precarious position.

If there are more actions in Syria it could easily lead to more reactions and then things could really get out of hand.

The same and more so with North Korea.

I do see some hint in the news that a new tougher stance by the U.S. is being welcomed by the world that, whether it admits it or not, depends upon our lead or protection from the forces of tyranny and evil. Whether we are worthy or up to it, sometimes seems in question. But they are looking to us.

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And after originally posting this I read now that China is warning North Korea not to do more nuclear tests and that the Chinese leader has spoken by telephone to President Trump. At the same time Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is visiting Moscow and the Russians are telling him not to make them choose between the Assad government in Syria and Washington. And they are needling him a little about the apparent confusion or mystery inside the Trump administration as to what the U.S. foreign policy should be. I guess in other worlds before you tell us what to do make up your own mind as to what you want to do.

I am of course on the side of the U.S. but I can see what we have here diplomacy wise at the moment is experience (Russian government) vs. inexperience (Trump administration that has turned its back on the diplomacy establishment). But what is, what is, and I’d advise our people to calmly stand their ground. In my lifetime when pushed, the Russians have blinked — but it can be an unnerving experience in a crisis (what the with the capability of mutual destruction via nuclear bombs).

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But the president and congress need to work together and the American people, who will pay in blood and money, need to be informed as to what our policy is. And if the public does not approve, well its feelings should be reflected through congress, and the president should be strong but not a dictator.

 

 

 

 

 

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