Donald Trump has told us he likes to be unpredictable. This art of the deal was on full display Thursday evening in Syria.
I have been writing for some time now about how Trump out thinks and out plans his rivals. He is a master chess player on the geopolitical stage, rivaling, or surpassing, the KGB spymaster, Putin. He prepares the battlefield before fighting. By the time he gets to the negotiation table, the deal is already done.
Vladimir Putin has needed an enemy to focus his people’s ire, to take their minds off their economic problems. This enemy, for the last decade, has been the United States. Enter Donald Trump, stage right.
Trump has been talking about working with Russia for two years. He has been offering an olive branch, saying “nice things” about Putin, to the derision of the Left and the Obama media. He has taken the arrows, and kept pressing, not reversing his course of wanting to have better relations with Russia, in spite of Chris Wallace and others making fun of him on their Sunday morning shows.
Now we know why.
Russia has been taking advantage of the lack of leadership in the Middle East under Barack Obama. They have pushed and pushed and pushed. The Kremlin secured a nuclear deal for Iran and are now the recipient of billions in weapons sales. Moscow has established a permanent beachhead in Syria. Even Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has flown to visit Putin in Moscow several times, needing a friend after he lost trust in the United States under Hussein.
Now Trump has taken decisive action that most likely caught the Kremlin off guard. How can Putin credibly blame the U.S. after Trump has made nice for all this time? How can Trump be the enemy when the Kremlin was ecstatic he won over Hillary?
The narrative coming out of Russia now on the chemical weapons story is not believable. How can Trump be lying when he was made out by Russian state media to be the anti-Obama?
In one brilliant stroke, Trump put Assad on notice, called out Russia’s support of this barbarism in a very public way, and frightened Iran, North Korea and China at the same time. Trump also drove a stake in the heart of the “Trump’s a Putin puppet” narrative.
And oh yeah, he made Assad pay a price for using chemical weapons, which only enhances American security long term. This is not about the U.S. trying to get involved in Syria. It is strictly about using weapons of mass destruction, which are still very dangerous, which are an existential threat to the United States.
The world is going through an adjustment period. We are moving from a time when the United States was adrift, having lost its focus and intentionally weakened by its former president. It will take the world some time to get used to the new reality.
America is back. She is once again led by a credible, effective leader who will unflinchingly stand up for America’s people and her security. This is a good thing but will take the dictators of the world some time to get used to.