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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>This Weeks Conservative Focus &hellip; Trump Presidency</p>\n<p>The world is agog at Donald Trump&rsquo;s head-snapping foreign policy reversal. He runs on a platform of America First. He renounces the role of world policeman. He excoriates parasitic foreigners that (I paraphrase) suck dry our precious bodily fluids &mdash; and these are allies! On April 4, Trump declared: &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to be the president of the world. I&rsquo;m the president of the United States. And from now on, it&rsquo;s going to be America First.&rdquo;<br />\n A week earlier, both his secretary of state and U.N. ambassador had said that the regime of Bashar Assad is a reality and that changing it is no longer an American priority.</p>\n<p> THEN LAST week, Assad drops chemical weapons on rebel-held territory and Trump launches 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria. &nbsp;<br />\n This was, in part, an emotional reaction to images of children dying of sarin poisoning. And, in part, seizing the opportunity to redeem Barack Obama&rsquo;s unenforced red line on chemical weapons.<br />\n Whatever the reason, moral or strategic, Trump acted. And effectively reset his entire foreign policy.<br />\n True, in and of itself, the raid will not decisively alter the course of Syria&rsquo;s civil war. Assad and his Iranian, Russian and Hezbollah co-combatants still have the upper hand &mdash; but no longer a free hand. After six years of U.S. passivity, there are limits now and America will enforce them.<br />\n Nor was the raid the beginning of a campaign for regime change. It was, however, a reassertion of an American stake in both the conduct and the outcome of the war. America&rsquo;s abdication is over. Be warned.<br />\n Moreover, the very swiftness of the response carried a message to the wider world. Obama is gone. No more elaborate forensic investigations. No agonized presidential handwringing over the moral dilemmas of a fallen world. It took Obama 10 months to decide what to do in Afghanistan. It took Trump 63 hours to make Assad pay for his chemical-weapons duplicity.<br />\n America demonstrated its capacity for swift, decisive action. And in defense, mind you, of an abstract international norm &mdash; a rationale that dramatically overrides the constraints of America First.<br />\n Trump&rsquo;s inaugural address had boldly rejected the 70-year American consensus to bear the burdens of world leadership. Less than three months later, the Syrian raid abruptly changed that course with a renewed interventionism &mdash; not, to be sure, in the service of a crusade for democracy, but in the service of concrete strategic objectives, broadly defined and extending far beyond our shores.</p>\n<p> TO THE North Pacific, for example. The Syria strike sent a message to both China and North Korea that Trump&rsquo;s threats of unilateral action against Pyongyang&rsquo;s nukes and missiles are serious. A pre-emptive strike against those facilities is still unlikely but today conceivable. Even more conceivable &mdash; perhaps even probable &mdash; is a shoot-down of a North Korean missile in flight.<br />\n The message to Russia was equally clear. Don&rsquo;t push too far in Syria and, by extension, in Europe. We&rsquo;re not seeking a fight, but you don&rsquo;t set the rules. Syria shared the Sharyat base with Russian troops. Russian barracks were left untouched, but we were clearly not deterred by their proximity.<br />\n The larger lesson is this: In the end, national interest prevails. Populist isolationism sounds great, rouses crowds and may even win elections. But contra White House adviser Steve Bannon, it&rsquo;s not a governing foreign policy for the United States.<br />\n Bannon may have written the come-home-America inaugural address. But it was the old hands, Trump&rsquo;s traditionally internationalist foreign policy team led by Defense Secretary James Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who rewrote the script with the Syria strike.<br />\n Assad violated the international taboo on chemical weapons. Who would enforce it, if not us? Candidate Trump would have replied: None of our business. President Trump brought out the Tomahawks.<br />\n His foreign policy has gone from mere homeland protection to defending certain interests, values and strategic assets abroad. These endure over time. Hence the fundamental continuity of our post-World War II engagement abroad.<br />\n With apologies to Lord Palmerston, we don&rsquo;t have permanent enthusiasms, but we do have permanent interests. And they have a way of asserting themselves. Which is why Bannonism is in eclipse.<br />\n This is not to say that things could not change tomorrow. We&rsquo;ve just witnessed one about-face. With a president who counts unpredictability as a virtue, he could well reverse course again.</p>\n<p> FOR NOW, however, the traditionalists are in the saddle. U.S. policy has been normalized. The world is on notice: Eight years of sleepwalking is over. America is back.</p>\n<p> April 14, 2017</p>\n', created = 1575609667, expire = 1575696067, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:33cb534ed395181a1c983b5f1a23b918' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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The great reversal — at least for now

This Weeks Conservative Focus … Trump Presidency

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