Citizen at New Orleans Party: But perhaps the general would at least tell us what his plans are?
General Andrew Jackson: Sir if the hair on my head knew my plans I would cut it off!
The Buccaneer 1958
Ian Howe: You know the key to running a convincing bluff? Every once in a while you got to be holding all the cards.
National Treasure 2004
One of the oddest things to me about the entire Syria Strike story is how so many people are so shocked that Donald Trump did what he did.
Anti-interventionists were caught off guard and upset. They see it as a neocon plot, leftists (who were blaming him for the gas attack the day before) consider it a distraction from the nefarious plot to steal the election from Hillary by the Russians, and papers like the NYT who were at the start of the week screaming Russian collusion are now worried about how this will affect our relationship with Putin.
Even Don Surber who has been right about Trump more than almost everyone else was caught off guard.
But when it comes down to it, Trump’s hit on Syria makes a lot of sense because it is so him.
First: in terms of a deal, if Trump wants to make a deal to stop the war on Syria, to stop North Korea or to take the pressure off the Baltic states afraid of a future Russian invasion he needed to demonstrate a willingness to actually strike, not only did he do so, but he did so While the head of China was his guest, meaning he was willing to demonstrate that diplomatic niceties and timing mean nothing to him when he wants to act. That’s very Trump.
Second: He was willing to do this without any public warning (yes he gave a private warning to the Russians so as not to back them into a corner since a US strike killing Russian soldiers would force Putin’s hand). There was no months of speeches, or weeks of muscle flexing, there was just action, and Trump is a person who believes in action. It was right out of this scene of the movie the Buccaneer where Trump’s favorite president Andrew Jackson (back in his general days) dealt with all those who were in panic about the British and New Orleans
If you’re a potential enemy of America, from this point on you can’t be sure if crossing us will bring a shower of missiles down on you or not. That’s very Trump too.
Thirdly: It was consistent with Trump’s sense of discipline, not in the sense that the media sees him, as an undisciplined speaker who acts rashly, but as in: This is the way things are and you’d better get used to the idea
It was a moment right out of Captain’s Courageous:
Captain Troop, with the good of the ship and the livelihood of the entire crew to worry about, notes he can’t risk months of fishing on a boy’s yarn. When Harvey still rants Troop finally concludes: “I guess there’s nothing left for it.” He rears back and gives Harvey a slap that knocks him flat. Harvey for perhaps for the first time in his life doesn’t know what to say:
You HIT me!
“Now you just sit there and think about it.”
It is here, with the establishment of discipline, that the movie begins to shift.
This was the re-establishment of discipline on an international level, the United States back in the game and everybody at the table had better get used to the idea again. That’s Trump all over.
Fourth: It gave Donald Trump, who doesn’t like or trust, the UN a chance to not only demonstrate US power to it, but to show them the old games they like to play are now over, to wit:
Nikki Haley demonstrates what American leadership looks like: pic.twitter.com/VTJkeib1iu
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) April 7, 2017
The UN business of being on one side of the fence in public and the other in private isn’t going to be played against the US anymore, and every nation that counts on America to foot the bill allowing their diplomats and NGO’s to live high off the hog there are seeing it. It’s the art of the deal, so Trump.
(on a side note if Nikki Haley decides to run for president, this will play very well).
Fifth: By hitting now when the strike can be small it likely prevents him from having to hit harder later. Trump by his nature is, like many of his isolationist supporters who are now pissed off, a non-interventionist by nature. The problem with such a position is it tells the world that you can push me and push me and I won’t touch you. Now if your goal is a weak US in retreat, as was the Obama administration’s ,that’s fine, but if your goal is a strong US that doesn’t have to fight everywhere, it’s not.
By making his point early on in his presidency, and on a small scal,e he is likely preventing a larger US involvement, not enabling it. Think of John Wayne in this exchange in Big Jake as his party rides into town with a red box containing a million dollar ransom in front of everybody.
James McCandles: Isn’t this a bit showy Pa? That big red box and all the guns out?
Jacob McCandles: I hate secrets, never knew one to be kept. They’ve all heard what’s in that chest, they all want it, what we’re doing by this ostentatious display is telling them they can’t have it. Hell, we may be saving some poor miscreant’s own life by doing this, maybe even our own.
Big Jake 1971
Perhaps by this display he will restrain a few bad actors from making moves to provoke the US into a war we don’t want, which incidentally is exactly what his base that wants to stay out of things wants. It’s the Fram oil filter ad all over again, you can pay me now our pay me later. Trump’s a businessman, it’s good business.
Sixth and last: A person who is a pol looks at kids getting gassed as part of the great game of diplomacy and considers every possible angle and tries to minimize any event that brings risk. A normal person looks at kids getting gassed to death and reacts saying: This will not stand. Why anyone would think that Trump would stand by and let this happen, when he has the power to stop it, or at least make these guys think about it long and hard about doing it again? It’s completely beyond me that anyone would think a man like Trump who is a man of emotion and reaction would sit still. Doing something that needs to be done, this is so very Trump.
This strike is completely in keeping Trump’s philosophy of doing things. What I don’t understand is why people don’t see it?
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