President Donald Trump has many messy motives for ordering the recent Tomahawk missile airstrikes. The current situation with Syria is unpredictable, although it does not necessarily spell out the prelude to World War three. Trump’s handling of North Korea’s latest threats of intercontinental ballistic missile tests threaten the entire world, however Trump’s recent meetings with Chinese president Xi Jinping have seemed to have given Trump a more realistic grip of the world.
Now that resigned National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon have been removed from the National Security Council, the personnel whispering into Trump’s ear have changed, and this has changed Trump, in major ways. The Tomahawk strikes and Trump’s zero tolerance stance towards North Korea betray campaign promises of isolationism and an ardent “America First” ideology.
According to a statement Trump’s son Eric made to the Telegraph, Trump’s daughter Ivanka may also have major influence on Trump’s new philosophy of foreign policy. Eric Trump emphasized that “women and children” suffering from the chemical weapons attacks bothered Ivanka, which influenced Trump’s decision. Personally, I do not feel comfortable with the commander in chief’s children having so much influence on major decisions. Eric Trump also revealed another bit of information that provides more insight into what possibly made Trump have such a drastic change in foreign policy philosophy. “If there was anything that Syria did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie,” stated Eric Trump. This comment suggests that President Trump was also motivated to order the airstrike because of irritation over the narrative of the Trump-Russia connections. Attacking another country with missiles is going too far to prove a point about relationships with Russia.
In my opinion, Trump’s recent MOAB bombing in Afghanistan was also likely ordered to send a message. The bombing itself was a collaborative effort between the government of Afghanistan and the United States military, and did not harm any innocent Afghani civilians. General John Nicholson, commander of United States forces in Afghanistan, was the one who approved the MOAB bombing, according to CNN. This could possibly suggest that the military independently conducted the bombing without involvement from the commander in chief, in which case this specific instance would not be useful in analyzing Trump’s foreign policy changes. However, I still think it is possible that Trump was partial to this military action because of the message it sends to North Korea. The United States is willing to use large explosives and could easily take out any nuclear weapon manufacturing plants in North Korea with a non-nuclear airstrike.
Right now, the situations in North Korea and Syria are not to a point where I am actually concerned for my life. However, the only predictable thing about Trump is unpredictability, and therefore I can only hope he continues to heed the warnings of Xi Jinping and the more centrist establishment Republicans who are advocating taking a measured approach with both Syria and North Korea.
According to Defense Secretary James Mattis, the Syrian military is still in possession of chemical weapons, which makes speculation on what Trump will decide to do next interesting. Personally, I think Trump’s ego fueled decisions could entangle the United States in another needless war. The United States needs to stop being the world’s police. Trump’s change on this stance has me gravely concerned.