Following Trump’s missile launch on a Syrian airbase last week (which will have virtually no impact on the trajectory of the ongoing civil war there), media pundits heaped praise on the flailing president, sometimes in very weird terms.
This is bizarre. Trump leapt into the Syrian conflict with absolutely no plan, ostensibly to protect children that his administration is actively trying to prevent from entering the United States. The moral rationale for the attack is a mere smokescreen.
In reality, Trump is desperate for positive press. For a narcissist who feeds off the adoration of others, the first three months of his presidency have been a rude awakening. From infighting among his staff to the unmitigated failure of his chief policy promises, Trump has been an absolute train-wreck of a president.
Enter the Syria chemical attack in the Idlib Province, which claimed dozens of lives, among them children. Under the pretense of retribution, Trump launched a targeted, one-night strike that cost nearly $100 million in US taxpayer dollars.
To compound the complex geo-political situation at the moment, the White House has also moved a navy strike force to the Korean peninsula, adding to the ongoing joint US-South Korea military drills. This military posturing and saber-rattling has led North Korea – a highly repressive, brutal state – to amp up its own bellicose rhetoric in response.
While each pose specific difficulties for the world’s security, neither have directly targeted the United States. Considering the first mainstream praise he received was for the ineffectual missile strike in Syria, Trump may further militarize his presidency in order to chase after additional support from pundits and hawkish politicians. If he does so, the country could find itself mired in long, costly, bloody, and intractable wars it never had any business being in.