Friday night, the United States’ military, in coordination with our allies, The United Kingdom and France launched targeted missile strikes to damage the Syrian government’s ability to use chemical weapons. The attack was not a surprise, unlike his predecessor, President Trump has been clear that use of chemicals weapons actually does cross a red line that we and our allies will not tolerate. As with everything this president does, reaction is all over the map, making strange bedfellows, but the selection of France and the UK as our partners, is telling and substantial.
Throughout the 20th century, The UK, France and the US stood time and time again on the right side of history, the cornerstone of Western opposition to totalitarianism around the globe. Whether it was World War One, World War Two, or the Cold War, this tri-lateral alliance faced down aggression and genocide, and won. Trump is wise to get the band back together, and as Americans we should be proud to once a gain stand shoulder to shoulder, with these, our most steadfast allies, with whom our historical ties are uniquely strong.
Along with sending a clear message to bad state actors around the world that the West is not backing down, this coalition also sends some clear messages to Trump’s critics at home. Those who believe or suggest, as Rachel Maddow and Ana Navarro have, that Trump is engaged in a wag the dog attack meant to distract from domestic difficulties must answer why France and the UK would go along with such self serving use of force. Why would they do Trump this favor if they don’t believe the action is sound and warranted.
Perhaps more pointedly, this punch to Putin’s gut must surely make claims that Trump is somehow a Russian puppet fall apart. It requires some Alex Jones, tin foil hat conspiracy theorizing to imagine this is all a false flag. No, this trilateral attack in defense of human rights and Western values is succor to those who believe Trump’s dealing with Putin, albeit unorthodox, have amounted now to a Rooselveltian big stick after soft words.
We live in a time when too many people of all political stripes moan and groan about the decline of Western civilization, its evils and wrongs, its excesses and mistakes. And yet, now, as in the 20th century it is this same West, in the form of its most iconic national powers, once again acting to save innocent women and children from the genocidal chemical attacks of a tyrant.
Today is a day to be proud. Proud of our military, proud of our allies, yes, even proud of our president. But it is also a day to remember that the West has not been lost and will not be soon. In Russia, Iran and China the realization is setting in that the era of Obama’s cautious leadership from behind is over. The countries who for two hundred years have moved the globe in the right direction are still here, and still more powerful than any foe.