The optics of President Donald Trump’s recent foreign policy decisions are as interesting as what a ten-and-a-half ton bomb does to its target.
In the span of a week or so, President Trump is able to accomplish the following: demonstrate our resolve in Syria and Afghanistan; establish a new working relationship with the president of China; put Putin on notice; and deflate arguments of his political foes regarding his friendliness towards Russia. More important than what he did, the optics of how he did it are truly noteworthy – and even more noteworthy is the message it sends.
The overriding message is that America is back in the driver’s seat, adults are once again in charge, and President Trump is not going to continue the lackluster ‘apology tour’ strategy that was the foreign policy of the Obama Administration. President Trump favored sending American dollars to enemies in the form of Tomahawk cruise missiles and a MOAB bomb instead of pallets of cash in the middle of the night.
Could a strategic objective have been met by something less grandiose? Yes. But would it have sent the same message? No. That is most important to understand.
The messages are many and in no particular order.
1. The American military is the best on the planet. We have the technological firepower to do almost anything from anywhere on the globe.
2. President Trump is not going to micromanage the military. He trusts his military leaders and allows them to utilize the best strategy possible to reach the desired outcome.
3. The negotiation starts at the position of ‘we will destroy you if you don’t play nice.’
4. The Trump administration will go to great lengths to protect our soldiers including dropping a very expensive bomb in order to prevent just one American casualty. The rules of engagement have changed…big time.
5. We will no longer be intimidated. Try this one for size: President Trump carried out a large military strike while in the middle of dinner with his gorgeous wife (in his incredible gold-plated mansion that he paid for with his own money) while hosting the president of a country he needed to convince that he was serious about the negotiation. Intimidation factor: 10.
6. By giving the Russians advanced warning on Syria, President Trump notified the world that he is not interested in picking a fight, while at the same time demonstrating our full military superiority. The result showed an unwillingness by the Russians to respond. Note that not one American missile was shot down.
7. With the use of the MOAB bomb, President Trump demonstrated to North Korea that we have the capacity to destroy bunkers deep inside the ground.
8. The Tomahawk strike also demonstrated to North Korea that we have missiles that can be fired from long distances that are extremely accurate. Moreover, the administration showed that they are not going to allow dictators to harm innocent people without repercussions.
9. Through these actions, President Trump blew a MOAB-sized hole in the idea that he is somehow friendly with Putin destroying the Left’s narrative for the past several months.
Like the optics of Ronald Reagan standing in front of the Berlin Wall and repeating those famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” President Donald Trump’s optics of the past several days will have a far-reaching impact on the future of American foreign policy. Both men showed that words followed by actions rooted in strength have powerful outcomes. The Left will continue to howl that President Trump is starting World War III – and just like with Reagan – they will be wrong.