The Trumposphere is alive with denunciations from his closest supporters. Milo, Ann, Watson, and even Alex Jones are all up in arms about the missile strike into Syria. They are all wrong.
If you want the promise of jobs fulfilled, more equitable trade terms with China, and a handle on North Korea then this strike was necessary.
China not Syria
In my previous piece “Why Russia?” I explained that in the mind of President Trump the primary concern is economic. Everything else comes after that. The primary target of this strike was China not Syria. Syria is just a convenient excuse to launch missiles. Think about the timing of the event. It could have happened a couple of days later or a couple of days earlier and the reaction of Syria, Russia, Democrats, and Republicans would have been largely the same. Yet it happened right before President Trump was due to meet with President Xi of China to discuss trade and the North Korean situation. Hours before that meeting he was treated to a live show of US missiles being launched for the first time in a long time. Just to put a sense of perspective the US used around 120 tomahawk missiles in Libya according to Forbes.
Shows of force like this are important. Syria does not exist in a vacuum. Since the red line proclamation of President Obama China has viewed the US as a paper tiger. In their mind we have all the military power in the world but are unable to muster the necessary political will to use it. This leads to a more belligerent trade policy from them, a more aggressive stance in the southeast china sea, and more aggressive stances from their satellite nations like North Korea. In this case the target was less important than the fact that force was used.
Equally important is the fact that this kills the Russia narrative of the Democrats. Russia has a strong army and a good geopolitical position vis a vis China which makes them a necessary ally in dealing with them in the future. With their narrative the democrats were making it difficult to exert the proper pressure on China using Russia.
Not an Escalation
The strike destroyed one airbase and killed around 6 people. That is not out of the ordinary in the middle east. If you were to have a missile strike New York and kill 6 people it would be a national scandal. If the same thing happens in the Middle East it would be just another Tuesday. Little Shalifa who has been sent by her parents to suicide bomb a building would have killed more people when she claimed her 99 virgin barbie dolls with the great pedophile in the sky.
When we look at the middle east we have to remember to judge things by their standards. For something to be an escalation in that savage part of the world it would have to be a lot more than one airstrike that kills 6 random people.
To the Trumposphere
Everyone wants Trump to succeed. We want those jobs back, we want better terms with China, and we want other countries to live up to their obligations to us. How is Trump supposed to accomplish that if other countries do not believe that we are willing to use our military at some point?
At the end of the day our primary argument for everything that Trump is trying to accomplish is that we are more important to you than you are to us. If Mexico does not give way we would have an easier time finding a market for our exports than they would for theirs. If China or North Korea does not give way then we are more powerful than them and could take what we needed or move them out of the way.
If you are like Ann Coulter, Milo, or the others who want Trump to succeed then asking him to tie one hand behind his back is counterproductive. In fact your insistence on it may guarantee failure. At the end of the day Trump has 4 years to prove himself and his promises. We have to give him the freedom to employ the different negotiation techniques that he needs. Let us try and refrain from acting like democrats and demanding that Trump be deposed at the drop of a hat.