The Manchild Who Cried ‘Wolf’

This is another Sunday article where it is impossible to determine the big story of the week. I began penning this early Friday afternoon, just hours after the Neil Gorsuch was confirmed as the 113th Supreme Court Justice in American history. That act is arguably the greatest theft in American history and one that we will suffer from for decades. The news is dominated by last night’s attack on Syria; but that only serves as part of a backdrop for today’s article. Let’s explore something that is deeply concerning me about the state of the presidency.

Outside of his base I think most Americans who pay attention to politics have comes to treat everything that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth (or Twitter account) as a lie until proven otherwise. He has become the fabled boy who cried “Wolf”. The problem is that, at least for the moment, he is the President and if in a moment of peril Americans will need to believe and rally around him. My concern is that in the likely event that moment does occur are we capable of believing him? I never supported George W. Bush but on 9/11 I was among the few liberals who actually supported his “hide the President on a plane” strategy. The nation was in shock and it didn’t need to lose its only President.

I can’t continue along this line of thinking without paying a bit of attention to America’s, Trump ordered, attack on a Syrian air base Thursday night. I think the attack was much more sizzle than steak. Syria is not a direct threat to America. It is a non-nuclear country in disarray and far from a major military power. While we may have sent a message to Assad that he can’t use chemical weapons against civilian populations with international impunity we accomplished little else. 59 Tomahawk missiles (at an ordinance cost alone of about $30 million) to damage part of an airbase I think qualifies for sizzle by overkill. The good news is we probably didn’t escalate the crisis; the bad news/reality is that we really didn’t change the balance of power in the region. It looked good to Bubba (Trump’s all important base) but didn’t accomplish much of anything.

Public opinion seems to pretty much be behind Trump. I actually expect his approval rating to increase a bit because of this action. In the greater scheme of things this incident will be another asterisk. I’m concerned about a real challenge from a nuclear power. I’m not too concerned about Russia on this front. I think the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) principle still largely applies. Also, Putin may as well have a leash around Trump’s neck. They may both posture but I don’t think Trump can afford to stray too far from what Putin wants. Trump may not realize it, but Putin is by far the smarter of the two. It certainly appears they have done some dirty deals together and the old KGB leader is sure to have an ace-in-the-hole to hole over Trump’s head.

My biggest concern has been North Korea. You have two inexperienced, unstable leaders who have only been successful in life because of their membership in the Lucky Sperm Cell Club. What happens if North Korea does something that actually endangers American or allied lives in the region? Kim Jung-un is just crazy and desperate enough to launch a nuclear attack on South Korea, Japan or Hawaii (if he has that capability yet). That can’t be ignored or met with the equivalent of a fireworks show that looks impressive on Fox News. Will America believe him? Will he and his team make prudent choices? Are they, (unlike the George W. Bush administration), capable of looking at the repercussion of their move? Or will we all just think it is another Saturday morning Twitter tantrum from the 70 year old “child” in the White House?

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