President Trump’s missile strike against a Syrian airfield achieved something that no other action from the young administration has done so far: it received widespread support from not only the general public, but also from both sides of the political aisle. The horrible news out of Khan Sheikhoun, a town in north-west Syria where dozens had been murdered and hundreds more injured by a sarin gas attack, prompted a dramatic reversal from a president who ran on an “America First” policy of non-intervention in the Middle East. Still, politicians on both the left and right — including Mr. Trump’s 2016 foe, Hillary Clinton — praised the strike as a show of intolerance of and strength against a regime that would use chemical weapons against its own people.
Two weeks removed, the dust has settled, the media have quieted down, and we’re left to soberly examine the Trump administration’s actions and its options going forward.
Like many Americans, I don’t disagree with Mr. Trump’s decision, and I’ll admit that when I heard the news that two destroyers in the Mediterranean had launched fifty-nine Tomahawk cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield, I was satisfied — obviously disheartened that we have gotten to this point, but satisfied nonetheless. Assad is a brutal dictator who has wielded the power of the Syrian military to oppress the Syrian people, who has resorted to violence to maintain control and who, frankly, has forfeited his right to lead. Though the United States cannot be the world’s…
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