Friday, April 7, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: An Historic 24 Hours

A 24-hour period of April 6-7, 2017 has proved to be not
only historic, but perhaps  a turning point in the nascent
administration of President Donald Trump.

Beginning with a punitive raid on a Syrian government air
base from which a chemical warfare attack on Syrian civilians
had been reportedly launched only days earlier, Mr. Trump not
only made the most dramatic assertion of his role as U.S.
commander-in-chief, he decisively assumed his, and revived the
nation’s, command of the free world. His action, a sudden
reversal of his words only days before, was welcomed warmly
by the leaders of virtually all U.S. allies, including those who
had previously been critical of him. It also shattered any
presumption that the new administration would not confront

A few hours later, the U.S. senate confirmed Mr, Trump’s first
nomination to the U.S. supreme court by a 54-45 margin. In the
confirmation process, the last remaining filibuster procedure
was eliminated, thus making any future Trump nominations
confirmable by a simple majority.

In the logistics of the successful air raid, it appears that the
president deferred to the experienced military figures he has
appointed to advise him. In the confirmation process, he
deferred to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who now
emerges as a particularly strong figure in the future course of
the administration’s legislative program.

So far, a pattern has appeared in Mr. Trump’s actions of
attempting to fulfill domestic campaign promises and of
maintaining flexibility in foreign affairs. There are risks in the
latter, including disappointing those in his own party who
bitterly oppose foreign interventions, and in changing the
dynamic in our relationships with Russia and China. The
military action in Syria was clearly very limited, but it is likely
to produce consequences, including whether or not the U.S.
military role in the region will be increased. It is  often unclear
what will happen when you alter the chemistry of international

Although the two developments in an unusual 24-hour period
might be counted a short-term victories for the new president,
many major and problematic issues remain ahead in the
domestic and foreign policies of the U.S. government.

If anything lasting might be gleaned from these notable
developments, it is the reinforcement of the advisory repeatedly
expressed on these pages --- it is much more important to pay
attention to what President Donald Trump does than just to 

what he says.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All right reserved.

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