Trump has, perhaps unsurprisingly, been putting out incoherent and contradictory statements toward Syria. Yesterday he tweeted “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'” regarding US missile strikes. But today, his rhetoric is less assured. He’s now claiming that he never said when an attack would take place, despite his wording yesterday which implied immediacy. Why would he change his mind — is it just a normal Trumpian shift? Well, it seems to be to defend himself against criticism — of yet another contradiction — because he has previously berated President Obama for being too open about his plans.
“In 2013, as the Obama administration was weighing a response to the Syrian government after it violated President Barack Obama’s ‘red line’ for its use of chemical weapons, Trump argued that the US should ‘stay the hell out of Syria’ and criticized the administration for ‘broadcasting’ its strategy,” CNN reports. Trump had tweeted: “Why do we keep broadcasting when we are going to attack Syria. Why can’t we just be quiet and, if we attack at all, catch them by surprise?”
So today’s confusing tweet seems to be an attempt to keep him from looking as confused and hypocritical as he clearly, clearly is. And, unsurprisingly, it’s not having the intended effect. Instead, the President has proved himself yet again as an unreliable, volatile leader whose lack of impulse control ties him into knots. And, with a military intervention looming, it’s a terrifying reminder that the President of the United States seems chronically unable to temper his responses with reason.
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
Because the situation in Syria is beyond complex, The United States and Russia have their own tumultuous — and reportedly, potentially treasonous — relationship. Military strikes could kill Russian personnel on the ground in Syria, which could prove incendiary. And of course, there’s the most basic issue that violence begets more violence. Syrian citizens would face being punished and destroyed by strikes and then suffer the backlash that the government could inflict upon its citizens in response. And the recent chemical weapon attack, if it is confirmed that it was a governmental move as suspected, shows just how far they are willing to go and how little regard it has for the lives of its citizens.
Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our “Thank you America?”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2018
Trump continued to show that he has no problem deploying bellicose rhetoric and then shifting his policy, he has no problem making bold statements and changing his mind, he has no problem insulting, no problem bullying, and no problem endangering. But some situations are just too large and too grave for grandstanding and this back-and-forth. Soon he’ll make a decision he can’t undo.