Eleven Weeks In

by TOM MCLAUGHLIN April 13, 2017

Did President Trump have to be the one to enforce Obama's red line? I'm not sure. No one else would act to punish Syrian President Assad for using chemical weapons. Ideally, it would be the United Nations, but nobody has taken them seriously since Korea. How about we just quit the UN, tell them to leave New York City and go somewhere else - like Brussels maybe? That city can have two useless international bureaucracies to COEXIST with the 300,000 Muslims who live there. Can you picture it? One big, multicultural city full of smiling, happy people holding hands? It's a fitting image for the capitol of the EU and the UN, right? Just watch out for airport bombers and careening trucks.

Trump let the world know last week that he's not Barack Obama, and that's worth something. He's not a wuss and he's not predictable. Now Kim Jong Un can worry that Trump might do to him what he's threatening to do to us - at any time. Iran can worry too. It won't likely capture any more US sailors in the Persian Gulf with President Trump as commander-in-chief. All that is great.

It's not good, however that Trump has put US Marines in Syria. That is contrary to what he said during the campaign. A month ago I wrote about the danger:

[Ethnic groups like the] Sunni Kurds, for example, are a minority in the border areas of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey - all of which, along with Russia now, are fighting ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Kurds want to be a nation-state too, but none of the aforementioned countries will cede them their ancestral territory which overlaps all. The US is arming Kurds. Last week, President Trump put US Marines on the ground in Syria. US soldiers must now fight alongside all these groups - some of which are still fighting each other - against ISIS. What could possibly go wrong?

A lot could go wrong, of course, especially after last week's missile attack. Trump got a lot of votes promising not to mess around in the Middle East without a clear US national interest. Sending in the Marines contradicts his "America First" rhetoric.

Among the sixteen Republicans running in 2016, Trump was my last choice, below John Kasich. He won the nomination and I resigned myself to vote for him, but I wrote several columns detailing my concerns last fall. I won't go into detail again here: suffice it to say that Hillary was "the devil you know" and Trump was "the devil you don't," but I went against the prevailing wisdom that the devil you know is preferable. However Trump turns out, I figured, he wouldn't be nearly as bad as Hillary would be.

People from different parts of the country who read those columns wrote me about their support for Trump. He alone, they claimed, had guts enough to kick a** in Washington. He certainly had the confidence, but my misgivings remained. Democrats and Republicans both needed serious a**-kicking, yes, but would Trump be the best one to do it? I'm still not sure.

During transition, he picked an outstanding cabinet but it also became evident early in that process that Obama was laying mines for him. Days before his term ended, Obama signed an executive order making wiretap transcripts of Trump campaign officials available to hundreds of people in sixteen different intelligence agencies. This made leaking hundreds of times more likely. If that wasn't Obama's intention, it's hard to imagine what was. Democrats and Mainstream Media - please excuse the redundancy- were, and are, out to get Trump, no question. They've pulled out all the stops, but Trump is fighting back and they're not used to that. They coined the term "fake news," to use against him, for example, only to have Trump immediately turn it around on them. That was brilliant.

Trump's inaugural speech was wonderful, echoing what he promised during his campaign. Many of his tweets, however, reflect an obsession with inaugural crowds and the number of electoral votes he got compared to other recently-elected presidents. His claims were obviously erroneous and they undercut his leadership. I found myself wishing his advisors would take his phone away or at least temper his impulsivity. It's embarrassing. When asked my opinion of our president lately I say I still don't like him, but I like what he's doing - except for the tweets and the troop deployments.

We're eleven weeks in now. Here's Trump's report card from this former teacher:

Domestic policy  - A. He reversed most Obama executive orders and is enforcing immigration 

Economy - A. He's reducing needless regulation and spurring energy development.

Foreign policy - C. He started well, telling other countries he's putting America first, but he's made some risky moves lately.

Deportment - D. He's impulsive and he doesn't play well with others.

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FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin is a (now retired) history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam.  Email him at tomthemick@gmail.com


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