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Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Media Goes Back To Normal

I happened to hear a CBS News report on my car radio a few minutes ago in which the reporter "explained" that the missile attack on the Syrian air base was a repudiation of President Trump's foreign policy of "America First".  That is clearly wrong.  I'm not sure if the reporter was just biased or if she did not understand.  Given that it was CBS, I will give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was biased and dishonest.

It is worth explaining what America First means (and does not mean.)

First of all, nothing in the President's foreign policy says that we will no longer be involved in the world.  America First does NOT mean "the Rest of the World NEVER". 

What the President's message is that America will now act in its own interests.  We will not subordinate  those interests to those of other nations.  For example, if a trade deal with country X might be good for that country, the USA will not enter into such a deal unless it is also a good thing for the USA.  The needs of the American people come first.

We will not act as the world's policeman, though.  If there is a civil war in the South Sudan, it is not up to America to stop it unless it interferes with a vital national interest of the USA.  Put another way, were there a civil war in Canada which might spill over into the USA, it would be in our interest to try to end it.  In South Sudan, there is little that affects America, so others must be involved in brining that war to an end.

The fighting in Syria and the chemical attack raises a number of important American national interests.  First of all, we have international and bilateral agreements regarding the use of chemical weapons.  There is an international convention on these WMDs which Syria also signed that provides that no nation will use poison gas.  Such use is a war crime.  Should any nation use such weapons, the other signatory nations are authorized to use force to end such use.  Almost every nation on earth has signed this convention.  Second, we have an agreement reached with Assad and the Russians in 2013 in which Syria agreed never to use chemical weapons again as well as to stop manufacturing them and to turn ALL such weapons over for destruction.  America has an interest in making sure that the international agreements which it signs are enforced.  Nations who enter agreements with us need to understand that we will do what is necessary to see to it that those agreements will be carried out.

Syria has also generated wave after wave of refugees who have flooded into Europe and the USA.  It is in America's interests to stop that flow which has allowed for the entry of terrorists and destabilized the countries receiving the refugees.  A new wave of chemical attacks would likely have led to tens or even hundreds of thousands more people fleeing for their lives from Syria.  If the missile strike stops that, it will clearly be in the interest of the USA.

The strike in Syria also will inform the thinking of the North Koreans, Russians, Chinese and Iranians.  It shows that President Trump is not afraid to act when necessary.  Ending the era of a weak and indecisive America under Obama is a vital national interest.

Simply put, nothing that the President did conflicts with America First.  Those who say otherwise are either misinformed or telling lies.

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