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Dinner with Don Corleone
What the Syria Strikes Mean
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  • Dhako

    I see the narrative you are pushing in here. And, although I do not blame you in here, since, God knows you are so desperate to talk a good game at the behest of that buffoon-in-chief at the White-House. However, still, one has to say, that it’s silly beyond words to hold that, President Xi seems to be getting some kind of second thought about how serious Trump’s administration is about the alleged “resolve” in the White-House to deal with North Korea. And the reason for that, is that President Xi knows as much as the leadership of South Korea, Japan (and even the generals at the Pentagon, who would have to implement whatever order Mr Trump gives them in regards to North Korea) that, lobbing some cruise missile at Syria, is a complete different kettle of fish in dealing with the serious ability of North Korea to strike back, if they were to come under attack by American’s missiles.

    In fact, if last night was the start of some alleged attack on North Korea by the US’s pacific forces, I can ensure you that now in this afternoon (in London’s time) the whole of Seoul would have been burning by now, particularly on the account of a massive retaliation of the North Koreans forces. So, tell that lullaby story about what “massage” was delivered to President Xi by Trump’s missile attack to children’s book publishers, since, they may take it as suitable enough for their intellectual merit such book could claim to have. But, in all seriousness, the Chinese knows, that, Trump has no military solution for North Korea short of a complete and catastrophic devastation for South Korea.

    Which is incidentally, the same reason that no government of South-Korea, could acquiesce for such thing in the first place. Which again, is the reason, that all previous US’s administrations found that to be the real “unspoken” reason any military action to deal with North Korea was out of the question, since, the both Japan (and to greater extend, South Korea) were adamant against it, unless it’s the North Koreans who are seen to be the ones that had initiated such attacks in the first place, and then, these two powers (along with the US) would be force to strike back.

    All in all, the attack last night, whatever it may have been, is basically an empty bluff in the ears of the Chinese, since they know better than anyone else how such bluster will not cut it when it comes to the dilemma the US has in the Koreans peninsula without their say so. This is the bottom-line, not some imagined “Corleane fiction” in which you desperate are hoping will be what that “tweeter-in-Chief” at the White-House was thinking when he thought to boast to his guest of how he did dispatch a few missiles to an already broken nation beyond comprehension.

    • ——————————

      So Dhako, how much does the paper tiger pay you per word?

      • Shivermetimbers

        3 rice bowls a day

    • CaliforniaStark

      “However, still, one has to say, that it’s silly beyond words”

      North Korea will soon learn that Trump’s definition of “silly” is very different from yours. The U.S. acts very differently when its president is not a weak pacifist.

    • Shivermetimbers

      Hmmm. A president who is not afraid to act, vs. the joke we previously had. The US has a lot of tools in its belt for dealing with Xi and his corrupt communist party brethren. No doubt Xi has tools too. But, I prefer a US President who is not afraid to act any day.

    • Jon Robbins

      A few questions:

      1. Are you still betting on Moon Jae-in on 9 May?

      2. What would China do if the US initiated preparations for strikes against DPRK nuclear/missile infrastructure? (Presumably it would take more detectable prep than the Tomahawk strike of last night.)

      3. How do you think the ROK government/public would react?

    • Burst On Target

      I’ve been there, Ace, and I say that’s bold talk for a one-eyed fat man! The first round fired from North Korea into the South – whether it lands on Seoul or not – will trigger an airstrike so blisteringly painful – that the little fat guy in Pyongyang will not know whether he has fallen into a molten lava bed or if his case of congenital herpes has just flared up again. You can fantasize about boogeymen if you want, but -without outside assistance – North Korea has no chance of prevailing over their cousins in the South or in causing urban devastation upon the South’s cities.

  • FriendlyGoat

    1) We shouldn’t forget that Trump enjoys the presence of a same-party Congressional majority which will support his usurpation of BOTH its constitutional power AND obligation to declare war before the USA just randomly attacks other countries. The Republicans will support him no matter what——and they will appreciate not having to vote on such things.

    2) TAI is correct that this confluence of events is the exercise of opportunity to quietly threaten China, DPRK and Russia. It’s hard to imagine a more timely and more convenient window/reason for Trump to flip-flop his previous Syria position than Assad gassing babies. While all this is going on, and multiple-dimension chess is being mentioned, let’s not forget too that today is D-Day for stealing the Supreme Court from those who are not in congruence with Trump.

    • Tom

      “We shouldn’t forget that Trump enjoys the presence of a same-party Congressional majority which will support his usurpation of BOTH its constitutional power AND obligation to declare war before the USA just randomly attacks other countries.”

      Your TDS is showing. Sorry, but this strike was well within the powers of the executive. Get a clue.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Virtually every Republican anywhere will agree with you, as long as the CIC is a Republican. So will conservative media, such as Fox News. So will all pastors who supported Trump for president. This is what psychological capture looks like—-no dissent against anything done by the guy you supported, especially not on pesky constitutional grounds. The best part for Republicans in Congress is that they never have to vote for striking Assad, or DPRK, or Iran, or anything in the South China Sea, or anything owned by Russians.

        • nervous122

          Utter nonsense. The alt/far right media has already condemned the strikes. Rand Paul and others from the Freedom Caucus have pointed out it was done without Congressional approval.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The alt/far right was already used for the purpose intended—–to get Trump elected. It is no longer relevant. Ditto Rand Paul.

          • nervous122

            Relevant wasn’t the point of your original claim. You are moving the goalposts again.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I see it as unlikely that this Congress will be looking to rein in the president’s autonomous authority to hit virtually anything with a military strike. Some of them may even like hearing a little noise from Rand Paul that they can call “debate” even when there really isn’t any “debate”.

        • ——————————

          And the same thing from the opposite direction if the president is a Democrat. That’s just the way it works.

        • Tom

          And by the same token, if Obama had done this you wouldn’t be saying a word.
          Get real, FG.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m always real. TAI spins its analysis and musings. So do I. That’s why we’re here.

          • rheddles

            Who’s we, comrade?

          • FriendlyGoat

            You’re here writing original stuff, ain’t ya? Surely you don’t imagine me being further off the wall than yourself, no?

    • CaliforniaStark

      The U.S. has been regularly bombing Syria for several years; and also has several hundred ground troops involved in the north park of the country helping the Kurds. If you had a problem with this, you should have brought it up with President Obama. Trump is also receiving bipartisan support for his actions, so you might take it up with Schumer and Pelosi as well. Your hypocrisy is showing.

      • FriendlyGoat

        My comment was not expressed as opposition to this strike. I am merely noting that Republicans are going to like striking this and that without their names attached in advance to any such actions.

        • CaliforniaStark

          Here is a recent caption from a news twitter: “The U.S. currently has nearly 1,000 troops on the ground in Syria”

          With that many American troops on the ground, the use of chemical weapons by the Syrians is a cause of concern.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Of course it is. Americans elected Donald Trump while he spoke against Hillary Clinton’s position for greater tangible opposition to Assad, however.

    • Boritz

      “just randomly attacks other countries.”

      You’re correct that it was random involving someone throwing a dart at a map which unfortunately for the Syrians landed on their country, but you’re wrong that it’s really an American attack. This was Putin’s plan from start to finish with America/Trump acting as his proxy. And does anybody care that Rachel Maddow was preempted by Brian Williams in a display of sexism and discrimination?

      • FriendlyGoat

        I have my angles. You have yours.

  • Unelected Leader

    Yes, I’m glad to see this on TAI. This event is being grossly misunderstood by the common viewer. Simply, Trump was tested (he passed). Showed willingness to escalate, but did no more than punitive damage. It’s textbook.

    • Jacksonian_Libertarian

      I agree, all new Presidents have their limits tested by our enemies. Trump decisively took action by getting in the face of at least the top 4 of them, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. The years our enemies spent walking all over Obama like the doormat he is, is over.

      • Isaiah601

        Yup. And thank God for that.

      • Jim__L

        It is an interesting change — Obama said he would do something and he didn’t, then Trump said he wouldn’t do anything and he did.

        I suppose if we have to sacrifice some reputation for restraint in order to enhance our reputation for action, reacting to a chemical weapons attack is a good opportunity to do so.

        Still, don’t expect this to make us any friends among the “Americans are dangerous cowboys!” set. But then, when was the last time they gave us any reason to value their friendship?

    • rene591

      wrong , for the cost of 59 missiles he made a few holes in an air field, wrecked 6 planes and showed what a lack of leadership looks like. now he has attacked a sovereign country without a declaration of war whose enemy is our enemy (ISIS) which now means a two front war in a place where we have no strategic interest.

      • Ruffin

        If only Syria’s enemy were our enemy. The Syrian government is leaving IS alone while it mops up the remaining anti-government forces.

        The PRC tested both Bush and Obama early in their administrations to see how they would react. Trump, sitting down to dinner with the head of the PRC while the missiles tracked to their targets, wrote his own test questions. I’m not inclined to give Trump credit for the idea (Mattis, perhaps?), but it was exceedingly clever.

        • rene591

          So we timed a strike in Asia for when we are saying our good byes to China? And give a heads up to the Russians so they are no where near the action( also avoided hitting their bombers which were at that field?)
          and damaged /destroyed 6 planes? And the overwhelming American reaction is he should have consulted Congress before attacking a sovereign country?

          • jafco

            Overwhelming reaction? The entire country, more or less, said “goodbye, Bammy, we hardly knew ye (and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out).” After years of cravenness or treachery – I’ll let you decide – there’s a new sheriff in town.

          • rene591

            a new sheriff ? with no strategy and no thought. one who does actions by television and lacks the moral fortitude to accomplish anything? Well keep hoping that Reichsfuehrer Trump has a epiphany but based on his track record you will be sorely disappointed.

          • jburack

            “Reichsfuehrer Trump”? – don’t you guys get it about that sort of thing. When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts, when you have the law on your side, argue the law, when you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table, as the old saying goes. But if pounding the table doesn’t get enough attention, pull out the Hitler analogy. The final refuge after even the last refuge has been tried.

          • rene591

            Ah patriotism , the last refuge of a scoundrel . Ah patriotism – the belief because you were born there it must be the greatest. Hubris- see picture of Trump. Narcissistic – see picture of Hubris

          • Isaiah601

            My old unhinged Left-winger on these boards could no longer take me ridiculing him all the time. Just as I was about to despair, you show up. How can I not believe in a Kind and Merciful God after that?

          • rene591

            not to worry neo conservative. There the forest awaits. The dustbin of history is littered with your errors and galactic mistakes. The greatest strategic disaster in the history of the republic? The Iraq War. One of the side effects? see above. What a complete and utter fiasco.

          • Isaiah601

            Thank you. You have a strong opinion and you are not afraid to express it. I look forward to many a fruitful respectful conversation with you. You strike me as one of those deep thinking, tolerant to other viewpoints open minded Left-wingers. We are gonna have fun, you and I.
            Well, let’s get to it. Neil Gorsuch? Me? Love the guy. Total homerun for Trump. Impeccable jurist. You? Yay? Nay? The whole filibuster thing? Lay it on me,

          • rene591

            libertarian and anti imperialist and anti colonial. but should be fun

          • Isaiah601

            Does that mean anti-Israel or am I just asking for too much here?

          • rene591

            and here are some facts about your glorious orange leader. They continue to attack and continue to use the air field that he just bombed wasting 100 millions

            http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/08/middleeast/syria-strikes-russia-donald-trump/index.html

          • solstice

            “Glorious orange leader?” You have the maturity of a second grader. What does Trump’s complexion have to do with anything and did you choose your complexion?

          • PierrePendre

            Your responses sound like the authentic echo of knee jerk anti-Reaganism. You decide whether or not that’s a good place to be.

          • rene591

            you do know that he is dead and that the cold war ended 1989? try and keep up.

          • Burst On Target

            rene – Americans are so relieved to have an “un-Obama” for President that they are willing to cut him some slack for going after Assad. Besides, I have little doubt that the Speaker and the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders were informed or consulted in advance. Trump did not mess this up.

      • Unelected Leader

        It was a test. He passed. Obama had failed. FYI: Launching a punitive strike for either an attack on the US/personnel or for a use of WMD in any case does not require a declaration of war per US rules of engagement as well as UN obligations and latitude given for the latter case.

      • ARMSTROB

        For years now Obama has been lying to the country saying there were only two choices, war or ignoring the situation entirely. Well Trump disproved yet another Obama lie. Presidents have been doing these types of raids for decades. I am surprised not to hear similar disgust for Obama’s total corruption of the Executive Bureaucracy including the Intelligence as there is for the raid from the progressives. I hope the Independents are listening to them defend Obama’s failed policies, all so he could have a legacy.

        • rene591

          you do know that Syrian jets were flying out of that air base in quicker time than Delta got up and running. Trump dump was a fiasco and and waste of American resources. He should stop acting impulsively as it is expensive

  • Proud Skeptic

    Here is a quote from a Susan Rice interview on PBS THREE months ago.

    “We were able to find a solution that didn’t necessitate the use of force that actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria, in a way that the use of force would never have accomplished. Our aim in contemplating the use of force following the use of chemical weapons in August of 2013 was not to intervene in the civil war, not to become involved in the combat between Assad and the opposition, but to deal with the threat of chemical weapons by virtue of the diplomacy that we did with Russia and with the Security Council. We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.”

    Let’s see where Trump goes from here. His decision to take out this one airbase is a masterstroke…SO many good things were accomplished on SO many levels. That said, I think this should be it for this matter.

    At the risk of making predictions…we know how most of them work out…I expect Trump to dispatch Nikki Haley to the UN to shame them into setting up a safe zone somewhere in or near Syria for refugees. Here ends my prediction. We shall see.

  • rheddles

    Trump whiffed. He should have done nothing, he
    had the Obama precedent to rely on, or he should have gone all in.

    All in would be unleashing Nikki Haley to repeat her bravura
    performance at the UN on a domestic road show to convince America’s
    mothers that a butcher who would do this to his own country’s children
    must be stopped…before it’s your child. Then get an AUMF from congress
    to remove the will and capability from Syria to conduct such operations.
    Let’s see the democrats vote against women and children. Then, do the
    one shot attack we just did. I have to believe we know where the bunkers
    are with the WMD. Tell the Russians they’ve got 48 hours to get all the
    weapons on runways where we can watch them being loaded into Russian
    aircraft for repatriation. Then after the 48 hours are up eliminate the
    Syrian air force. If, and it’s a big if, we’ve got the capability to
    deal with the S-400 do it. Show that our tech beats Ruski tech again. If
    Russians die in the process, so sad. If Turkey wants to get in the way,
    throw them out of Nato.

    But no more ineffectual signalling half-measures. Put up or shut up.

    • Andrew Allison

      I beg to differ. I think it was a proportionate warning shot. I do agree with you that the Syrian Air Force should be destroyed. Perhaps Putin should be (has been?) told to get Russian aircraft out of the way before the next Syrian war crime.

      • rheddles

        I think the President should not take offensive action, which I think this was, without congressional authorization.This warning shot may have been proportionate, but I don’t believe warning shots are effective unless they can be backed up. Without AUMF, Trump could end up with donks backstabbing him.AUMF means he’s got the country behind hi, For at least a year. For the children.

      • Episteme

        What struck me as interesting (if not mentioned as heavily in the press) has been Rex Tillerson’s comments since the strike, enunciating the Administration’s doubling down on the Geneva talks (especially as a route to a post-Assad Syria). While Trump is using presented – particularly by WRM – as a Jacksonian, this combination strikes very much as a TR-style move of quickly showing the stick to move diplomacy along. Since a major sticking point in getting Assad out has always been convincing the mid-tier administrative and military leadership there to go along (there’s the usual question of how much a strongman leader offers insurance versus creating a pariah status), demonstrating how the US is willing to depreciate the resources that those same mid-tier officers rely on to operate is a canny move.

    • f1b0nacc1

      I have deeply mixed feelings about this strike (I agree with Andrew that it was proportionate and effective as a warning, though I don’t think we should have bothered in the first place), but your definition of ‘All In” would have been self-defeating. Using political capital to get involved in a peripheral quagmire where no critical American interests are at stake seems wasteful to me, and that is precisely what you are suggestion that Trump should have done. Worse still, provoking a useless confrontation with the Russians (as opposed to the nicely calibrated slap they go with what was actually done) seems pointless. Yes, they screwed up with the chemical weapons (though that really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone), but by obliterating the airbase while carefully sparing both the Russian portion of the complex (and warning them ahead of time) while also avoiding the bunkers where the chems were stored, a pointed message was sent.

      The Syrians lost some major assets, and the Russians got a demonstration of what the US could do, and what it chose not to do. While I don’t think it should have been done at all (though i will concede that reasonable people can and will differ on this), the way it was done strikes me as effective and appropriate.

      • rheddles

        Time will tell, but I think it was not effective and it is a mistake to be proportional. All it demonstrated is that Trump is willing to act extraconstitutionally. If he had a fresh AUMF it would show more national unity to back up the one time raid. I also have mixed feelings, but I don’t think splitting the difference takes you to a good place. As it is, it is a warning of what? The Russians knew what we could do.
        And now the Russians know what Trump will do without support. But can he do more? Stay out or go all in.

        • f1b0nacc1

          The courts have repeatedly ruled that this sort of thing, while of dubious advisability, was not unconstitutional. As for an AUMF, presidents of both parties have declines to submit to the strictures of the WPA because of its patent unconstitutional nature…legislative vetoes simply don’t fly. This is why Congress has never pressed the matter in the courts…they are quite well aware of the fact that they will lose…

          Now, as for why we warned the Russians, the answer is simple….the Russians know what we COULD do, but they likely doubted we WOULD do it. Trump demonstrated that he isn’t Obama, perhaps (and I say perhaps, as I still have my doubts) that was worth a missile strike. More to the point, Xi received an object lesson in the dangers of tickling this particular dragon’s tail. That called for a calibrated, LIMITED strike, in fact the limitation was the whole point of the thing.

          Once again, I wouldn’t have done this were I in Trump’s place, and I still believe it was a less than desirable choice. With that said, at least it was competently executed, which is far more than I can say for the last group of clowns…

  • Anthony

    If you use chemical weapons and not remove them, you’ll be punished – a very memorable Syrian policy. But wait…though it wasn’t much of a policy prior. Now, the policy is messaging with purpose. My how the contours of judgment/analysis change dependent on both analysts’ politics and involved personalities.

    • Sam

      But the chemical attack coming from Assad makes no sense. He had no motive and nothing to gain from it. Maybe, just maybe, somebody wanted it to look that way? I don’t know and until we know for sure who was behind the attack – if there really was an attack – we, as a nation, should let some time pass before flexing our muscles.

      • Anthony

        That’s same point Jon Robbins (above or below) makes and I concur. My point is policy on Syria (as ostensibly acted out) resembles previous administration’s .

        • Sam

          Fair enough, no argument there. Looks like I misread your original comment, my mistake.

          • Anthony

            Harmless error.

  • MikePM

    Deep State New World Order War Machine for the big win.

    The only losers will be the next wave of innocent Americans who eventually and inevitably die in the blowback.

  • lukelea

    Tillerson: ‘No role’ for Assad in governing Syria: https://goo.gl/hmcusH

    So when Meade says there has been no change in our policy towards Syria does he mean that our goal remains regime change via negotiations between a secular regime and Salafist opposition? If not, then please elaborate. Doesn’t it imply no end to the conflict? Or if we really intend to remove Assad regime, why should we expect things to turn out any differently than in Iraq and Libya? Are we doing this as a favor to Israel, as we appear to have done in Iraq, where Sadam was subsidizing attacks on Israel? In the case of Syria, is neutralizing Hamas and Hezbollah really worth the price?

    As I recall Meade turned out to be wrong on the Iraq invasion. Or do I misremember?

    • D4x

      Look for an internal coup in Syria. Destruction of an airbase concentrates the minds of Assad’s support in the Syrian military..

      • Miek D.

        Syria is led by a group of Alawites in a sea of Sunnis. I am sure the military is led by Alawites who don’t want to be ruled by Sunnis.

        • D4x

          Clarifying that I meant an internal coup from within Assad’s military, probably an Alawi. Worse than Assad would be Shi’a who like what Hezbollah has done to Lebanon.

    • Miek D.

      I read Tillerson’s latest remarks, assuming they were made in consultation with the President, to mean that the U.S. will not tolerate the use of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological), but the U.S. is in no mood for nation building. We are going to destroy ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but Syria will have to solve its own political problems and if that entails Assad, so be it, sans the chemical weapons.

  • D4x

    TeamTrump had been under withering attack for being ‘dis-interested in human rights in foreign policy’, especially with his Oval Office meet with Egypt’s al-Sisi. This Tomahawk strike should mute that line of assault on the legitimacy of POTUS representing “who we are”.

    What I wrote as the news broke last night, while thinking of the Corleone christening scene, and “The West Wing” episode on
    proportional strikes: “Tomahawks, after dinner – I was reading the reports on what was a 100-seat dinner at Mar-a-Lago, when the news broke. Hope President Xi saved face with the timing, and spends the night rethinking North Korea.”

    My way of noting TAI header author was thinking the same, by invoking Corleone.

    By the way, Chinese media last night was critiquing what Madame Xi wore to the dinner, while US media acknowledged FLOTUS choice of red means luck in China. Ten minutes later…

    The domestic political fallout? Really hard to see how the Dems continue their deplorable delegitimization of the Trump family. Truly a Commander-in-Chief moment.

    • Andrew Allison

      “Really hard to see how the Dems continue their deplorable delegitimization of the Trump family.” Surely you jest!

      • D4x

        Not jesting. Schumer and Pelosi’s post-Tomahawk announcements are the thin edge of the wedge…the Dems will have to rely on the “chaos in the West Wing” storyline, where “Jared and Ivanka are the puppetmasters because their children are learning Mandarin”.

        Seriously, POTUS/FLOTUS successfully hosted three world leaders in one week. How can Dems continue to delegitimize with optics like that?

        Fwiw, Vanity Fair is reportedly doing a hit-piece on FLOTUS, which might not sell so well after this week.

      • D4x

        No irony? breaking headline 11:25 am EDT: “Missile Strikes on Syria Put US Relationship With Russia at Risk” New York Times

  • Andrew Allison

    “Others will no doubt accuse Trump of ordering the attack simply to change the subject from the serial failures of the early days of his Presidency.” There you go again.

    • D4x

      Bloomberg news emerging as ‘the reliable source’, here is a good timeline: “…It was Trump’s most presidential moment so far, the first time he had marshaled the might of the U.S. government instead of looking like an insurgent trying to dismantle it from within. In the hours leading up to the strike, Trump had to depend on the expertise of the intelligence community and military apparatus that he and his aides belittled throughout the campaign and since. Less than three days after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad prompted the U.S. strike by attacking an insurgent-held town with sarin gas, Trump’s relationship with the world was altered.

      … During dinner, Trump informed Xi personally that he had ordered the strike, the person familiar with the situation said. The Tomahawk missiles were minutes away from their targets as the Chinese motorcade prepared to depart the club. The first missiles struck at about 8:40 p.m….

      The strike has been widely praised by members of Congress and other world leaders, many of whom are now eager to see if Trump’s first real act as commander-in-chief signals a shift in a president long criticized as susceptible to instigation by a tweet.

      “He now has an opportunity to reboot with the American people,” Senator John McCain said, “at least as far as national security is concerned.” ”

      https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-07/from-steak-dinner-to-situation-room-inside-trump-s-syria-strike

      • Andrew Allison

        Memo to McCain (who really should go away, or at least shut up): the people who elected President Trump, namely the majority of those outside of CA, probably don’t think a reboot is necessary.

        • D4x

          Yes, but, a reboot helps with the other 50%. McCain is a good start, because, he really is not going away. 49.99999999% to go…

          • Miek D.

            Unless he wants to emulate Strom Thurmond, he is probably in his final senate term. He is 80 years old and his current term just began.

        • D4x

          The Cabinet Secretaries speak, about China, again, normal reporting from Bloomberg, (except for the spin on the Tomahawks not being a signal, as if everyone else did not already think that)
          “…“We have very similar economic interests and there are areas where they clearly want to work with us,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters. “The objective is for us to increase our exports to
          them.”

          Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that “the most interesting thing to me was they expressed an interest in reducing their net trade balance because of the impact it’s having on money supply and inflation.
          That’s the first time I’d heard them say that.’’

          China’s leaders in fact have long been concerned about the yawning U.S. trade deficit with their country, $347 billion in 2016. Ross said the two countries agreed to a “100-day plan” to discuss trade; there were few details.

          Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said “there was no kind of package arrangement discussed to resolve” tensions with North Korea, adding that Xi agreed the situation “has reached a very serious stage in terms of the advancement.”

          …”

          https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-07/trump-xi-summit-s-top-accomplishment-getting-to-know-each-other

  • Isaiah601

    “The most deranged paranoids on the Left are sure to see some kind of five-dimensional chess game being played here”
    that was a rather convoluted way of saying Comrade FriendlyGoat will blame the people who voted for Trump. And he did. What a coincidence.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Predicting the behavior of our resident loon really isn’t that hard. It is a lot like shooting fish in a barrel, actually….

      • Isaiah601

        He blocked me. Now you will be deprived of reading our conversations. Oh well… 🙂
        Anyway, it is Friday, Trump is showing the world he is not Obama, Passover is coming, and I’m stopping by Katz’s Deli to get Pastrami sandwiches for the whole family ( a bit of a detour but worth it). So all is good in the world.

        • D4x

          Really miss Katz’s pastrami. Ess, fress, enjoy!

        • f1b0nacc1

          Don’t be disconsolate, I suspect he isn’t worth the trouble…grin…

          Enjoy your sandwiches, I am more of a Corned Beef man myself, but true deli sandwiches are a gift from God. Perhaps, as Franklin said of beer, they are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy…

          • D4x

            You would switch to pastrami, but only if you had Katz’s pastrami. Memory from 1980 lives on.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I have had that in the past, but the taste just doesn’t do it for me. Though you are right though, Katz’s was heavenly!

          • D4x

            This sub-thread will confuse anyone reading this – linked at RCPolitics now, e.g. “TAI harbors pastrami enthusiasts, must be a Romanian conspiracy!”

          • f1b0nacc1

            Here in the benighted wilderness of the Midwest, I did find a decent deli…tomorrow I will be there for the great passion of my life…latkes!

          • D4x

            f1b: last night, I wanted to ask you how the Tomahawks got past Syria’s air defense, but I now assume that only tracks airplanes?

            Yum, latkes with applesauce. When I was in _______, WI, I begged for a transfer to Cleveland, secretly longing for a real bagel, and pastrami on pumpernickel. Instead, I got a Manhattan transfer. Best food memories, notwithstanding my grandmother’s latkes, and kishkes.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Tomahawks *ARE* airplanes….very little robot airplanes. They fly very low, and most Russian SAM radars are optimized for middle/high altitude intercepts. Since the overwhelming bulk of the threat against Syria (particularly in the north, which is where this airfield is) are from the North (Turkey) or the South (Israel, though there is very little chance that the Israelis would be bothering with a base this far north), their search radars (which are directional, though you always seem them portrayed as 360 degrees…a mistake) weren’t focused due west, were the threat came from.

            Add to this the fact that the Al Shayrat base is about the best possible target you could get for a cruise missile strike (general location, distance from other SAM sites, etc.), the Tomahawks were likely programmed with an evasive course that ducked in and out of the gaps in the coverage (remember, we have tons of recon drones and electronic support aircraft over Syria, the SAM sites are well mapped out) to make interception even harder. Finally, since we *DID* alert the Russians to the attack – a wise move – it isn’t impossible that they were aware of the incoming missiles, but didn’t intercept them so as not to 1) Expose their own SAM radar capability; and 2) Make their SAM sites a target for the *NEXT* attack

            The decent (not great, but adequate) deli nearby me has quite good latkes (I am not an applesauce guy, but you are welcome to my lifetime portion!), and a cleverly named “Meshuggah Bagels” is about to open next door to it. Life is good….

          • D4x

            TY! Usually, I rely on JE Dyer’s analysis of military operations like this. She used to post at Commentary, but has her own blog past few years, that really deserves more echo. Good maps, too:
            http://libertyunyielding.com/2017/04/07/cruise-missile-strike-syria-assad-regime-russia-notice/

            I would not trust a shop named ‘Crazy’ Bagels – they probably feature blueberry. Meshuggah is an insult.
            Let me know if they have pumpernickel, the only proof that they know their bagelry. The misuse of Yiddish in America has been troubling since the film named “Dinner for Sch…ks”.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Thanks for the link, good professional thinking there.

            I do have a minor quibble with her analysis, the Al Shayrat airbase complex is particularly important because it acts as a central ‘clearinghouse’ airfield (what the Brits would have called a ‘sector airfield’ during the Battle of Britain), and thus is even more important to the Syrian operations in that area than would otherwise be obvious. Knocking out the airfields logistical support means that several other satellite fields will now have their operations degraded, a far better way of doing counter-air than simply attacking bases willy-nilly. This is where the importance of operations analysis comes in.

            There is a story behind the name Meshuggah Bagels, this is the second one of what the owners hope to be a chain. I will let you know if they stand up to serious testing (grin)….

          • D4x

            US-led Coalition Boosting Airfield Capabilities in Syria March 31, 2017
            https://www.voanews.com/a/us-led-coalition-increasing-airfield-capabilities-in-syria/3791891.html
            Key airbase is in Kobani, of the five in Syrian Kurdistan, I have not checked for a decent map.

            Germany: “…the military base in Incirlik has been a contentious point between the two nations since June 2016, when German representatives voted on a resolution recognizing the Armenian massacre in the Ottoman Empire as “genocide.” In response to the affirmative vote, Ankara barred German politicians from visiting the military base. …”
            http://www.dw.com/en/german-government-finds-eight-alternatives-to-incirlik-military-base-in-turkey/a-38179202
            Auf wiedersehen.

        • Burst On Target

          Katz’s………uuhhm ! Now that’s good eatin’! Don’t forget the onion rings.

        • ——————————

          Hey,
          Wanna grab me a Reuben while your there and send it to Texas!

          I miss Jewish deli’s…..

  • Jon Robbins

    Why would anyone think that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in Idlib–much less assume that they did?

    Just as in 2013, there is no motive for Assad to do this. With Russian help, he’s winning. Why would he do something sure to compromise the steady progress he has been making in retaking all of western Syria, including the recent capture of Aleppo?

    The mindless claims that the Syrian government did this are informed by relentless propaganda. Fascinating that our media absolutely refuse to ask or answer any questions about Assad’s motives. It’s like Tass or Izvestia in the goodold days. Undoubtedly, this was either a jihadist weapons cache, as the Russians are claiming, or a false-flag employment of chemical munitions with the help of the Turks.

    It’s also worth noting that although it is being claimed that the nerve agent Sarin was used, we see lots of photos of the ludicrous “white
    helmets” allegedly cleaning victims while wearing no protective gear except masks. With a nerve agent like Sarin, you would need full
    chemical suit protection, since it can be absorbed through the skin.

    Nothing about this story and the way our lame media is covering it makes any sense.

    • Sam

      You’ve hit the nail on the head.
      Claiming that it was Sarin in the captions of those white helmet pictures is just lazy reporting, and yet Americans are still buying it.

    • CosmotKat

      “The mindless claims that the Syrian government did this are informed by relentless propaganda.”

      Setting aside your not so subtle smear towards those you feel superior to, the reality is the Obama administration, in collusion with Russia, claimed all Sarin gas had been removed. That’s the real story, not who delivered the fumes of death. It’s been narrowed down to the air field President Trump ordered to be hit.

      • gmat

        What has been “narrowed down…etc”?

        • CosmotKat

          “It’s been narrowed down to the air field President Trump ordered to be hit.”

          Did you miss the word airfield?

          • gmat

            No, I got that, thanks. I’m not clear what “it” is, that has been narrowed down to the airfield. The location of the chemical weapon that was used?

          • CosmotKat

            “It’s” means the focus of the strike was narrowed down to the airfield, which is where the gas strike emanated from.

      • Jon Robbins

        The claims that Syria employed CW are based on no objective evidence and run contrary to any logical motive on the part of Assad. And yet people accept the notion. I call that essentially mindless.

        • CosmotKat

          “The claims that Syria employed CW are based on no objective evidence and run contrary to any logical motive on the part of Assad.”

          The claims? Perhaps you should refute Walter Russell Mead who wrote in the WSJ, “Mr. Trump chose the right response: a limited missile strike against the Syrian air base that, according to American intelligence, had launched the vicious gas attack.”

          Did you get that, Jon? “According to American Intelligence.” Are you saying WRM is mindless?

          • Jon Robbins

            This “US intelligence” is nothing more than an anonymous leak. It’s not clear what it truly amounts to, if it amounts to anything at all.

            There’s the refutation for you.

          • CosmotKat

            Then prove it. Your opinion does not make for a credible refutation. Show me some facts. According to NBC news, not known for it’s pro-Trump stance, reported: “UN observers said the chemical had come from the Assad regime’s stockpile, and the Arab League and the European Union said the attack was carried out by the Assad regime.” http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/u-s-officials-syria-gas-attack-consistent-nerve-agent-n742981

          • Jon Robbins

            More anonymous sourcing–or in some cases merely unsupported assertions.

            No need for me to prove the negative.

            You and WRM need to provide evidence. That’s the real issue.

          • CosmotKat

            Unsupported…….get real. That’s not an argument, that’s an excuse.

            No, you need to make a credible counter-argument, that’s your issue, not mine. All the experts support my assertions and you know it and don’t like it. That’s the real issue.

          • Jon Robbins

            I made an argument–not a counter-argument. You replied to me–not the other way around. You are the one lacking the credible counter-argument. The only “evidence” for a Syrian sarin strike comes from the jihadist opposition, the White Helmets who are sympathetic to them, and the Turkish government, all parties seeking the overthrow of Assad. Why would anyone accept that kind of “evidence” without object confirmation?

            The lack of motive on Assad’s part is also an obstacle to any a attempt to pin the incident on him. And the fact that the photos released by the White Helmets themselves do not show them in the proper protective posture for an agent like sarin makes the whole story even more suspect.

            Now, in view of all those realities, tell me what it is that makes you think Syria used sarin in Idlib. (And citing WRM or NBC or vague and anonymous sourcing doesn’t cut the mustard.)

  • PierrePendre

    Going to war on the fly is never a great idea no matter the flagrancy of the provocation. As Hitler said so memorably to Ribbentrop when France and Britain unexpectedly declared war after his invasion of Poland: “What now?” It was a very good question to which Ribbentrop had no ready answer.
    The WP’s David Ignatius says there is a plan which involves fighting Isis to the last Kurd while the United States provides advice and logistical support. There are probably a number of plans. But if the way forward wasn’t clear before Trump’s missile strike, it’s no clearer now.
    Is there an honest broker who can replace Assad? If there is, his name is a closely guarded secret. It can’t be one of the Assad regime who are all tainted. It can be one of the so-called moderate anti-Assad rebels who are all incompetent and have no power base from which to reconcile the country. And any of this depends on the Kurds neutering Isis which at the moment is a paper ambition rather than a done deal.
    Does Trump even have enough of an attention span to follow through once the plaudits have died down? Syria didn’t defeat Obama because he was a nitwit but because it is a problem of great complexity whose corners are obscure. Let’s hope Trump has been giving it some thought.

    • Burst On Target

      When you can dispatch 59 Tomahawks and casually announce it to the Chinese premier at dinner – you don’t need much of an attention span, Pierre. The French government has done little to nothing in that part of the world – now, lo and behold, the chickens are coming home to roost and France is also now a target of a myriad of radical Islamic terror groups. I hate to be the one to break the news to you but – America didn’t just go to war – we’ve been at war for over 15 years. Firing cruise missiles into Syria is a no-brainer because, no matter who gets hit – there anything but our friends.

      • PierrePendre

        Did you ever read Heart of Darkness, the passage where a warship fires shells blindly into a jungle where it does not know what is going on in a country it does not understand and cannot know what the consequences of its attack will be?

        • Burst On Target

          I’m familiar with the story – but not so much with that part. Despite what I may or may not remember of Joseph Conrad, I don’t see that as analogous with this event – although I give you credit for the literary parallel.

          Everybody seems to think that American Presidents do what they do out of “blind stupidity” and “strategic ineptitude”. I don’t believe that in Trump’s case just as I did not believe it in Obama or Bush’s case, either. The President has a vision of what America’s global interests are. That may differ all or in part from what you think it is or should include. Regardless, the President will be motivated from time to time by events to act in accordance with his vision and the powers made available to him by the American people. There can be no doubt that Donald Trump was elected largely because the American people wanted a different kind of leadership in Washington. Trump promised them strength and this event demonstrated his resolve to use that strength when challenged or provoked.

          It is too bad that the Syrians are in a bitter war against each other. But for one side to use weapons which have been banned and that they pledged to destroy is an invitation for outside intervention. Obama promised to do something about it but then failed to act; Trump chose to act decisively against this provocation. So, did he act entirely out of blind, ignorant rage – or with cold, ruthless calculation and an end-game in mind? I say that he and his people know what they are doing. I would recommend you refrain from second-guessing our President.

  • dannyboy116

    I think this was a brilliant move by President Trump. I addition to providing a sharp contrast against Obama’s waffling, he put Assad on notice that he is not going to tolerate genocide against women and children. He also, as a side benefit – probably put the fear of God into little Kim Jung Un in N. Korea.

    • wbilct

      “he is not going to tolerate genocide against women and children”. unless that genocide is applied by the Israelis on the West Bank Palestinians.

      • Isaiah601

        Do you want to be my pet anti-Semite? You think the position would be easy to fill, but all my anti-Semites keep running away. Let’s be friends.
        Thoughts on BDS movement? I think they are a bunch of scumbags. Israel’s DFI is at its highest levels ever. So they are also a failure. Your thoughts?

        • wbilct

          “Do you want to be my pet anti-Semite?”

          I’ve seen this movie before!!!

          Gee, When I move the cursor over the up vote and no icon appears, is that an indication that a commenter has up voted his own comment?

          shiiish!, what a creep!!!

          • Isaiah601

            My comment was uprooted by handle D4x. Will you be my pet anti-Semite now?

          • wbilct

            “Will you be my pet anti-Semite now?”

            Sorry, I’m pro the Palestinian Semites.

            But it looks like your going to be my creepy pet, whether I want it or not!!!

          • Isaiah601

            *you’re
            You are pro Palestinian Semites? Great!! Me too!!! Do you think their interests are being served best by their leadership? What would you do differently? Do you think movements like BDS are helping or hurting the cause? If you are interested, I can share my opinions on the topic.
            Also, you can always block me. It’s a feature. I tend to scare Jew-haters. Oh well….

          • wbilct

            Sorry, my creepy pet, I’m moving on.
            I’ve never blocked anyone.

          • Isaiah601

            Bye now. If you change your mind, being my pet anti-Semite offers many exciting opportunities.

          • Kneave Riggall

            Wrong twice in two comments! Can you go three for three?

          • Isaiah601

            Finding a good pet anti-Semite is hard these days. you think with all those adherence of Religion of Peace going off, there’d be more.

          • Kneave Riggall

            Too bad about wbilct. The stupid was strong in that one. Better luck next time.

          • dannyboy116

            What if he did up-vote his own comment? Nothing creepy about that – obviously he wouldn’t have posted it if he didn’t like it. When Hillary Clinton went into the voting booth, I bet she voted for herself – not someone else…

  • donqpublic

    Well, Joker, we usually establish the “red line” first before playing truth and consequences. That CIA coup backed government in Kiev should be nervous about the new paradigm for playing truth and consequences in reverse over so called existential “national interests” to save the children. Now, about those federal criminal indictments of mayors and sheriffs for aiding an abetting the escape of illegal alien federal prisoners on federal detainers with prior felony child molesting raps and rapes that have yet to happen to save the children.

  • bscook111

    Good read Mr. Meade.

  • rene591

    6 Planes damaged and a runway that will be up and running within a week? and the planes replaced with in the same time ? exactly what has changed? and exactly why after 6 years of sacrifice by the Syrians, Iranians and the Russians , this pinprick means anything?

  • rene591

    and boys and girls. check out the polls. The American peoples by overwhelming numbers say the the President should have gone to Congress before this missile attack. you know like he said in 2013??????

  • jmquillian

    Deja vu all over again. The youtube video failed in 2013 with Obama, so they’re back with another ‘chemical weapons attack’. There is absolutely no logical reason for Assad to carry out such an attack, but great benefits to those who wish Assad destroyed. Trump campaigned heavily on a policy of sanity in foreign affairs, so this is a real disappointment. As well as an opening to those like Tulsi Gabbard who oppose our senseless and destructive foreign policy. If Trump continues this transformation into Bush 44, he’ll lose in 2020 if not 2018.

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    As I understand it, Russia has geopolitical interests in Syria as its gas pipelines run through Syria to get to the billion populated European market. Iran also wants to run gas and oil pipelines through Syria to Europe. Russia, Syria and Iran can then hold a lever over Europe which needs fuel to heat homes in winters. A question might be whether the US will oust Assad and leave the oil and gas lines intact or will it interdict such pipelines and capture the European energy market for itself? I would expect Putin might go to war over the pipelines but not over Assad (or other obscure entities including Russia itself) testing Trump early in his administration as far as its willingness to use military power in surgical missile strikers.

  • Jerome Ogden

    All in all, brilliant, feel-good tactical payback for Assad’s inhumanity, and a major message sent to Russia, Iran and China on our new “resolve.” But don’t kid yourself that it wasn’t also a major strategic setback in the war against ISIS.

    Until yesterday, Trump’s main strategic goal in Syria, announced repeatedly during the campaign, was to destroy ISIS. Until yesterday,
    Putin and Assad shared that goal. Yesterday’s bombing shattered that tacit, but increasingly effective anti-ISIS coalition. Trump’s main strategic goal is now regime change, Putin’s regime protection, and Assad’s regime survival.
    We have now guaranteed that ISIS will be around a lot longer than anyone could have predicted yesterday, perhaps permanently in the eastern desert as Assad redeploys defensively to his coastal regions to counter an existential threat to his regime. We’ve also guaranteed that Iran and Hezbollah will surge large numbers of fighters into Syria, not to fight ISIS, as they had been doing until now, but to protect Assad.

  • Sam McGowan

    I am (was) a Trump supporter. I am a combat veteran of more than 1,200 combat sorties. I am also a firm believer in Constitutional government and the Constitution makes clear that only Congress can declare war. What President Trump did crossed a line. We should not be involved in Syria in the first place. It’s a civil war and the opposition in many ways is worse than Assad. (Clinton supported Muslims in the Balkans.) I learned to shoot when I was a very little boy and the first thing my daddy, who fought in World War II, said was to never point a weapon at anything unless you mean to kill it. Cruise missiles are weapons. They are intended for use in wartime, not for diplomacy. Those idiots who beat the drum for shooting cruise missiles and dropping bombs (on countries that don’t have the means to fight back) have no idea what war really is. Maybe the video of the “victims” of the alleged gas attacks are real but I do know a little bit about chemical warfare and one thing I know is that you don’t go into a contaminated area in shorts. There is something important to remember – Russia has missiles that can blow a destroyer out of the water. Let’s hope they don’t decide to use them. (By the way, Secretary Tillerson says Russia WAS NOT notified of the attacks.)

    • Isaiah601

      And we have missiles that can blow their cities into dust. They have ability to do the same to us. Once MAD doctrine is established, war goes on.
      I respect your service to this country. I don’t pretend to know what you do. But after 8 years of Obama, something HAD to change. Just my $.02.

  • Colt

    President Trump has shown more leadership since he was elected than that spineless Muslim Brotherhood loving Obama did in the 8 dreadful years he was in office. The President sent a strong message that there is a new sheriff in town.

  • Old Gunny

    Could you run me through “the serial failures of the early days of his Presidency”? By my count the list includes the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. Also by my count, that’s one in a row.

  • D4x

    “…Shortly after, some Arab social media users started referring to the president as Abu Ivanka – Father of Ivanka, as a sign of respect and endearment. Others referred to him as Abu Ivanka al-Amreeki – Father of Ivanka the American, complete with a religious beard. …”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-39526653

    [In China, young women admire the “goddess Yi Wan ka”]

    • Jon Robbins

      Is that supposed to make me feel better about an illegal attack based on a transparently false pretext?

      • D4x

        It’s not always about you

        • Jon Robbins

          Is that supposed to make anybody feel better about an illegal attack based on a transparently false pretext?

  • PierrePendre

    The liberal media had been predicting all week that Xi Jinping – that most exemplary and cunning of statesmen – would push Trump around. The Chinese got a wake up call instead as did Putin and the media. Beijng and Moscow will take note but it’s a question whether the US and European media did or whether they’re too deep in their anti-Trump fantasy world to be aware of anything other than their own make believe. The idea among the media that China’s authoritarian communism and its interests must be deferred to is so ingrained that they are unable to grasp where America’s national interests lie. Not appeasing either the Chinese or Putin is one of those interests and an increasingly irrational hatred of everything Trump does doesn’t change that.

  • Joseph DeMarzo

    I believe that this step by Trump is a classic Jacksonian move. This step was necessary to protect a vital American interest, namely, the credibility of the US and our willingness to use force that was proportional to the threat. Obama sought Russia’s assistance to deal with the Syrian WMD issue, but Russia breached its obligations. As Tillerson said, Russia was either complicit or negligent, as the US called Russia on its culpability. Secondly, Assad deliberately tested the new President, and it is a key interest to show the world that the US will respond to provocation. Thirdly, this sends a message beyond Syria, Iran and Russia, most notably to China and No. Korea.

    On the other hand, this does not mean that we will put boots on the ground or seek regime change, as the sarin attack does not harm our interests to the extent that we would become embroiled in war. Accordingly, the Jacksonian desire not to become involved in war unless our vital interests are at risk prevailed. In short, the Orange One threaded the needle on this one and stayed true to Jacksonian principles.

    Trump also gained several political points as well. It makes the left’s Russia obsession appear even more ridiculous, and forced the MSM to cover him as a “legitimate” President. CNN, NYT , WPost et al will be back their old tricks in a day or two, but this shut them up for a bit.

  • Kneave Riggall

    “The Russian Ministry of Defense. . . immediately suspended its de-conflicting agreement with the United States.”

    So, the next time Trump bombs a Syrian air base, with its ammo dumps full of sarin gas and its hangers full of Russian jet mechanics, Putin doesn’t want a “heads up”?

    Guess those Russian mechanics are on their own . . .

  • morecotwo

    There will be no follow through because there will not be any more WMD gas massacres. End of story.

  • Proud Skeptic

    Trump was bold. He gets credit for that. We shall see how things go from here.
    That said…the big story here isn’t the gassing of innocents, nor the cruise missile strike, nor the Russian threats. The big story here is the way Nikki Haley bitch slapped the Russian ambassador in an open meeting at the UN.
    Whatta woman!

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