By Giovanni Corrado – April 15
Giovanni Corrado is a government and public policy student at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Corrado is the President of New Politics Now LLC., has worked for the U.S Senate, House of Representatives, and is an incoming White House intern.
On April 7th, President Donald Trump ordered the launch of fifty-nine Tomahawk cruise missiles against the Shayrat base controlled by the Baathist Al-Assad government. The U.S’s first unilateral action against the Syrian regime came after Assad killed seventy- four and injured another 557 with toxic gas in Khan Shaykhun on April 4th. President Trump justified his order, which was conducted without congressional approval, by stating that it is in the U.S’s best interest to “prevent the and deter the spread of chemical weapons” (VOA-April 6).
Due to the strong response to the viral videos of children suffocating on the muddy grounds of Khan Shayhun, the President’s action was praise by both Democrats and Republicans. Furthermore, seventy seven percent of Americans approved of the airstrike as they believe Assad had committed an “immoral acts,” shows the latest CBS poll. Trump, who had condemned foreign intervention on his campaign trail, is now enjoying the spoils of the good old “when in doubt, bomb!” U.S strategy.
According to Gallup Poll, the President’s approval ratings rouse by two percent in one week after the Shayrat bombings. The Trump administration hadn’t experienced a two- point weekly increase since moving into the White House on January 20th earlier this year. But approvals were not the only ones to rise. Oil prices, so dear to so many Trump supporters, spiked by two percent following the strike, according to CNBC. While the White House hides behind a curtain of fake empathy for Syrian lives, everything seems to be going Trump’s way for the first time since in office. Some methods just do not seem to get old,. When approval ratings are low, drop some bombs and go with the flow.
A fact many overly-enthusiastic Americans missed was that the U.S’s warning to the Russians actually allowed the Syrian government to shelter the majority of its aircrafts at Shayrat. It was thus not a surprise that Assad launched a new anti-rebels operation from that same base, the very next day, against those same field in Khan Shayhun, states Davidson from Reuters. As per so many U.S recent actions, Trump’s bombing was mostly symbolic. It did not significantly deter Assad from killing innocents, it did not further the U.S’s interest in the region, and it most certainly was not a carefully calculated decision.
The repercussions of the April 7th strikes are strong and detrimental for the United States. The Trump White House, however, already knew that the majority of Americans would not bother tuning in to actually understand the consequences of its acts. Approval ratings are going up, and President Trump keeps hosting fancy dinners at Mar- a-Lago, Florida. FDR, Truman, Bush Sr., and H.W Bush would be extremely proud of Mr. Trump. He seems to finally understand how optics work in this country, the world’s
leader in media manipulation.
For the few detail oriented readers, the following facts will not sound new. For everyone else’s sake, however, here is the truth. Post-April 7, four major things happened. First, Russia announced it would begin to strengthen the Syrian government’s air defenses, according to The Independent. Second, Russia “formally notified” the Pentagon that it was suspending the U.S.–Russia Memorandum of Mutual Understanding, which prevented collisions between U.S and Russian air-forces in Syria. Third, Belgium, a U.S ally, completely suspended operations in Syria. And fourth, ISIS took advantage of the U.S-Russia “cat fight” by gaining ground in Palmyra and eastern Homs, Homs governor reported.
Despite mounting evidence that President Trump’s actions did not benefit the U.S neither diplomatically nor militarily, the public does not rescind its support for the bombings. Unfortunately, U.S domestic politics is dominated by emotions, shaky ideologies, and the “spinning” of news. We live in an era when public relations advisors and campaign managers seem to be more important than national security officials and foreign policy experts. Presidents are allowed to attack other sovereign nations without congressional approval, which somewhat coincides with public approval.
These actions are possible not only because of the increasing latitudinal power of the President, but also thanks to masterful media strategists who could convince you it will rain today even though it’s 80°, sunny, and no cloud to be spotted.
“Droppin’ bombs and goin’ with the flow” has become a sort of U.S motto. The public is skeptic? Your “silent majority” is crippling? What’s better than showing the world who
is macho to regain the trust of the American middle class. This is not a matter of party affiliation, it is an inherent problem in American political culture. Truman carpet bombed Japan, Kennedy failed at the Bay of Pigs, Bush got lucky in the Gulf War, and Bush Jr. messed up in Iraq. Mr. Trump is now taking the “safe” road and following the footprints
of his predecessors. Of course, the irony around the word “safe” is almost comical. Truth is, only time will tell. For now, let’s sit down and enjoy the circus of American hypocrisy.