- Bomb a Syrian airfield on principle to express displeasure at the use of nerve agents in warfare.
- Make sure you are seen eating dinner with the Chinese Premier at the time, and not breaking a sweat.
- Obtain approval of most people left, right and centre for doing so, across several continents.
- Impress your allies and enemies that you will take military action for moral causes.
- Explain to your Chinese guest, its head of state, that unless the Chinese solve the Korean problem of the Kim regime, you (Trump) will.
- Move naval assets to Korean waters.
- Watch with satisfaction as 150,000 Chinese troops move towards the North Korean border.
- Make Kim Jong Eun nervous for his regime and his life.
Is there something about this you do not understand?
Trump was not trying to depose Assad. He is enforcing a norm of warfare: blast and fire, okay; starvation of citizens maybe, nerve agents no.
But he also adds much-needed credibility to the use of force by the United States in other circumstances.
I am sure there is some expression in some language or other about being seen to eat a dog in front of the other dogs, just to remind them who is atop the food chain.
“The number of members of the press who have lauded the actions last night as ‘presidential’ is concerning,” he wrote. “War must never be considered a public relations operation. It is not a way for an Administration to gain a narrative. It is a step into a dangerous unknown and its full impact is impossible to predict, especially in the immediate wake of the first strike.”