Trumplash: Rapidly Evolving Syria 'Policy' Leaves Pundits And Supporters Puzzled

In the span of just one week, President Trump and his team have pivoted from declaring that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad could stay in power, to launching airstrikes against his regime—and possibly committing the United States to a new military conflict whose scope and scale are unknown.   

Needless to say, the rapid evolution of Trump's Syria 'policy' has left many pundits and supporters in complete shock, particularly since back in 2013, a relentless Trump blasted our then "very foolish leader" for threats to intervene in Syria, saying that military action would just risk a "worldwide conflict" with "no upside and tremendous downside" for the U.S.

 

More recently, just a couple of weeks before the 2016 presidential election, Trump also blasted Hillary's Syria plan saying the U.S. would "end up in World War III."  Per Reuters:

On Syria's civil war, Trump said Clinton could drag the United States into a world war with a more aggressive posture toward resolving the conflict.

 

Clinton has called for the establishment of a no-fly zone and “safe zones” on the ground to protect non-combatants. Some analysts fear that protecting those zones could bring the United States into direct conflict with Russian fighter jets.

 

"What we should do is focus on ISIS. We should not be focusing on Syria," said Trump as he dined on fried eggs and sausage at his Trump National Doral golf resort. "You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton."

 

"You’re not fighting Syria any more, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right? Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk," he said.

 

Trump said Assad is much stronger now than he was three years ago and said getting Assad to leave power was less important than defeating Islamic State.

 

"Assad is secondary, to me, to ISIS," he said.

And, as late as last Thursday, U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley was saying, “Our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out,” and Secretary of State Tillerson, borrowing language from Russian diplomats, was announcing, “the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.”

All of which, of course, makes yesterday's decision to bomb an airfield in Syria all that much more puzzling.

“Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” Trump said in brief remarks at Mar-a-Lago, casting the move as necessary “to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

And while most of the mainstream media could find a way to criticize Trump for almost anything, the latest decision to bomb Syria seems to be costing him the support of even the most ardent conservative proponents.

 

So what say you?  Is this latest controversial decision from Trump just another sign of a White House in complete disarray and lacking any clear foreign policy vision, a desperate attempt to divert attention from some early political failures or was this the plan all along with recent contradictory comments to the press intended solely to maintain the element of surprise?