Ever since President Trump authorized a missile attack against the Syrian air base used to attack innocent civilians and children with chemical weapons, the mainstream media have bashed him for changing his position. They’re out of their minds!
During the presidential campaign, Trump was opposed to entering the Syrian conflict, and he was right. But the situation has deteriorated to a point that it became obvious to the military that if the war were left unchecked, our U.S. interests and allies would be seriously jeopardized.
Kudos to you, Mr. President, for having the courage to listen to the professionals — in this case, military advisers. With our demonstrations of strength, we are sending a strong signal that the U.S. will no longer be bullied by tinhorn dictators and Russia. When a situation changes, every president has an obligation to analyze and make the appropriate decision, even if it represents changing a position due to the circumstances.
Trump’s strong action in dropping the so-called “mother of all bombs” on the tunnels harboring ISIS fighters was the right thing to do, and sends a signal to those who have been encouraged over the past eight years to deal with the U.S. as if we were a paper tiger without the ability to defend our national interest and those of our allies.
The missile strikes against Syria were interpreted as a warning to North Korea. The real question is, will the irrational little madman, Kim Jong-un, get the message? That message got even clearer when China finally stepped in and told North Korea that if it continued to conduct nuclear weapons or missile testing, it would likely face military action by the U.S.
The People’s Daily, the Communist Party of China’s official paper, stated, “Not only is Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises.” China made it clear that the United States will not co-exist with a nuclear-armed Pyongyang, and that China is prepared to finally abide by sanctions against North Korea as a sign of good will.
North Korea has taken an aggressive stance since the Syria missile strike, promising to counteract any military moves by the U.S., and even going as far as to say that the country was “ready for war.”
Now that China is acting in accordance with the U.S., however, this may be a fight that North Korea is not willing to start. According to reports, the U.S. has deployed the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and several other battleships from Singapore to the Korean peninsula. In addition, China has reportedly moved 150,000 troops in preparation for a wave of possible refugees in the event of an attack.
Trump seems to have turned relations around with Chinese President Xi Jinping. During the Obama administration, the relationship between China and the U.S. was often described as “strained” or “rocky.” In just three months, feelings have changed drastically.
Trump stated that he and Xi have a “good chemistry,” and he recently announced that China offered a sign of solidarity by turning away North Korean coal ships and returning them to their home port of Nampo.
This is not only a rebuttal to the Trump administration, which has complained that China isn’t doing its part to adhere to sanctions and stop North Korea’s nuclear program. It is also a gesture that China is willing to ease tensions with the U.S. According to reports, the U.S. is in talks with China to begin selling coal to China again. This would be the first time coal would be exported to China since 2014.
Trump has already proven that we are not afraid to once again utilize our military might to solve a problem. Yes, it’s nice that Beijing appears to finally be doing its part to persuade North Korea to end its nuclear program, but with or without China’s support, the U.S. will launch an attack and could aim to remove Kim Jung-un from power.
When Trump was elected, this is what his supporters were expecting. Finally, the U.S. has shaken the title of paper tiger it earned under President Obama, and has once again proved to the world that we will protect our allies and honor our treaties. Kim better take heed of China’s warnings, because it appears that we have finally made up our minds that we will stop North Korea from conducting any further tests.
Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.