First the acknowledgement: those of us who were outraged by Barack Obama’s startling climbdown over Syria in 2013, when he made his own pronouncements about “red lines” (and hence, American foreign policy) appear ludicrous, must hand it to Donald Trump. On Thursday night, he responded to the Assad regime’s hideous war crimes in what we have always believed to be the right way. In so doing, he restored America’s international credibility and a belief in the possibility of Western leadership.
There can be no gainsaying that conclusion from the point of view of anyone who attacked the Obama decision and believes that it led to horrendous global consequences, which included the emboldening of a revanchist Russia. (I recall writing at the time that Obama had left a vacuum into which Vladimir Putin would march.)
Whatever happens next – and whatever the internal Washington disputes about whether…
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