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Monday, April 10, 2017

Intentional Blindness

Paul Krugman won a Nobel Prize in Economics for work analyzing the effect of international trade.  Since then, he has branched out becoming a liberal "expert" on everything.  Krugman makes pronouncements on all kinds of political and policy questions, but always falls back on telling people that he won the Nobel Prize so he must know what he is talking about.  The reality is quite different.  Krugman writes columns for the New York Times which could be amalgamated into a book entitled "Democrat Talking Points of the Last Decade."

Today, Krugman is belittling the missile attack on the Syrian air base because President Trump has no "policy" on Syria.  Here's the key paragraph of the Krugmania of the day:

But outside its effect on the news cycle, how much did the strike actually accomplish? A few hours after the attack, Syrian warplanes were taking off from the same airfield, and airstrikes resumed on the town where use of poison gas provoked Mr. Trump into action. No doubt the Assad forces took some real losses, but there’s no reason to believe that a one-time action will have any effect on the course of Syria’s civil war.

Think about this.  The White House told us within an hour or so of the attacks that the aim of the attacks was not to permanently shut down the base, but rather to destroy key assets of the Assad regime.  Over 20 fighter jets were blown up on the ground.  That's a large portion of Syria's entire air force.  The munition dumps at the air base were likewise destroyed as were the fuel depots.  Sure, the runway was still functional, but Assad lost hundreds of millions of dollars of military equipment in less than an hour.

Krugman says that there's no reason to believe this one time action will have an effect on the civil war.  The reality is, however, that there's no reason to believe that the attack won't have such an effect.  Indeed, the message to Assad is clear:  if you use chemical weapons, you will pay a huge price.  Let's see if Assad goes back to using WMDs.  My guess is that we will not soon see another town filled with people dying from sarin gas.

The problem with pundits like Krugman is that they want to define the problem in their own way.  Trump's move was not meant to solve the problem of the Syrian civil war.  That remains so no matter what Krugman writes.  Trump was addressing the use of chemical weapons in violation of international law (and agreements with the USA).  And guess what, no one -- not even Krugman -- could miss the policy being followed by the USA under Trump.  It's simple:  if you use chemical weapons, you will pay the price, and that price will be huge.

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