President Trump, who ran on a platform of putting America First, has long denounced former president Barack Obama for making empty threats and demands to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Trump also condemned the practice of publicly announcing imminent military operations, and proposed a measure of unpredictability instead. Many have wondered if the president means to stand by those words or if he simply saw opportune moments to attack a political foe and seized them.
The fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles that destroyed the Shayrat air base on April 6 should remove any vestige of doubt. As Liberty Nation’s Jeff Charles points out in his recent article on the attack, “we have now seen that President Donald Trump means business.”
Reactions range from commendation to condemnation. Some are proud that the U.S. finally has a President willing to pick up Teddy Roosevelt’s big stick and take a swing, while others feel he has reneged on his promise to put America First. Does the missile strike on the Syrian air base demonstrate a departure from President Trump’s America First platform? In short, it does not.
Time laid out some very dark possible consequences of the America First policy and closes the article with the supposition that Donald Trump might very well usher in the apocalypse. The Atlantic pointed to the WWII era isolationist movement of the same name, linking Mr. Trump to anti-Semite ideas and alleged Hitler supporters. Practically all modern politicians have been compared to Adolf Hitler by their detractors, and Donald Trump is certainly no exception. However, none of these ideas of what America First actually means are correct – at least not to Donald Trump. In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Trump explained his idea of putting America first:
… so America first, yes, we will not be ripped off anymore. We’re going to be friendly with everybody, but we’re not going to be taken advantage of by anybody. We won’t be isolationists — I don’t want to go there because I don’t believe in that.
The official explanation of the America First foreign policy provided by the White House explains, “The world will be more peaceful and more prosperous with a stronger and more respected America.” The two central themes of President Trump’s America First policy are a stronger and more respected America and a friendly America who can work with anyone but will not be taken advantage of. President Trump wants the United States to be taken seriously again. To that end, the attack on the Syrian air base absolutely adheres to the America First policy – and it fits in well with both his dismissal of isolationism and his warnings of unpredictability. Though perhaps unexpected, after looking back on the president’s words, we shouldn’t be surprised. He simply did what he said he would do, albeit in an unexpected way. Donald Trump sent a clear message to Syria and the world that the United States does still carry that big stick, and that the current leadership is not afraid to swing it.