Trump steers new global course, with a bias to­ward ac­tion

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - MERCEDES SCHLAPP Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News con­trib­u­tor, co-founder of Cove Strate­gies and for­mer White House di­rec­tor of spe­cialty me­dia un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

Barely set­tled into the Oval Of­fice, Pres­i­dent Trump is al­ready forg­ing a mus­cu­lar for­eign pol­icy with an un­pre­dictabil­ity that is caus­ing shock both at home and abroad. Dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Mr. Trump promised to show strength on the in­ter­na­tional stage, with a fo­cus on beef­ing up our na­tional se­cu­rity and de­feat­ing the Is­lamic State. In his first 80-plus days in of­fice, his mes­sage to the world is that the U.S. mil­i­tary is ready to re­spond any­time and any­where to threats to our vi­tal in­ter­ests.

But are Amer­i­cans, and es­pe­cially his ar­dent sup­port­ers, pre­pared for more mil­i­tary pos­tur­ing? Are they con­cerned that U.S. in­volve­ment in mul­ti­ple hot spots will lead to mil­i­tary es­ca­la­tion?

On Thurs­day the U.S. mil­i­tary tar­geted ISIS by drop­ping the “mother of all bombs” in east­ern Afghanistan. Top Cent­com com­man­der Gen­eral John W. Ni­chol­son ac­cused Is­lamic State and its af­fil­i­ates of us­ing IEDs, bunkers and tun­nels to es­cape past U.S. re­tal­i­a­tion.

Dust­ing off the U.S. mil­i­tary’s more pow­er­ful non-nu­clear bomb — for the first time ever — “is the right am­mu­ni­tion to re­duce these ob­sta­cles and main­tain the mo­men­tum of our of­fen­sive,” the gen­eral said.

Mr. Trump’s na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vis­ers are pre­sent­ing op­tions to the com­man­der in chief, and Mr. Trump is wast­ing no time in tak­ing ac­tion to weaken ISIS.

It’s not just Afghanistan and ISIS. The bomb strike comes on the heels of the de­ploy­ment of the USS Carl Vin­son to the wa­ters off the Korean Penin­sula as the er­ratic North Korean dic­ta­tor Kim Jong-un pre­pares for what many ex­pect will be a sixth nu­clear test to com­mem­o­rate his grand­fa­ther’s birth­day. Mr. Kim is clearly ob­sessed about gain­ing the tech­nol­ogy and mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­ity to launch a long-range in­tercon­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile and, ac­cord­ing to U.S. in­tel­li­gence, he’s just four years away from ac­com­plish­ing his goal.

Mr. Trump is pro­ject­ing strength on an im­pres­sive va­ri­ety of fronts. He’s con­fronting Rus­sia over the Syr­ian chem­i­cal at­tack and the im­me­di­ate U.S. mil­i­tary re­sponse with a tar­geted airstrike. The list of rogue dic­ta­tors and ter­ror­ist groups hos­tile to the U.S. seems at times over­whelm­ing, es­pe­cially af­ter eight years of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s tough-talkand-no-ac­tion for­eign pol­icy.

Mr. Trump is right that he in­her­ited a global “mess,” but he needs to make his case to vot­ers and to Congress on the road ahead. Fa­tigue fol­lowed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that cost thou­sands of U.S. lives. Amer­i­cans are less in­clined to sup­port mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion, and they are clearly wary of any deep­en­ing mil­i­tary mis­sion in quag­mires like Syria. While a ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans ap­proved the U.S. airstrike in Syria, only 18 per­cent of Amer­i­cans were “will­ing for the U.S. to en­gage in full mil­i­tary in­volve­ment, in­clud­ing ground troops,” ac­cord­ing to a CBS News poll.

Pres­i­dent Trump has con­fronted the re­al­ity that the world is a dan­ger­ous place, and rec­og­nized the fact that there is lit­tle room to ne­go­ti­ate with un­sta­ble and dan­ger­ous dic­ta­tors and ter­ror­ist groups. They play by a dif­fer­ent set of rules and are fo­cused in gain­ing power and de­stroy­ing West­ern civ­i­liza­tion. They hate Amer­ica and ev­ery­thing we stand for, plain and sim­ple. In the past few months, Mr. Trump has em­braced his role as com­man­der in chief and proved him­self more than will­ing to weigh mil­i­tary op­tions to de­feat ISIS and stay on the of­fense.

The key in the com­ing days will be whether he can con­vince us that his “Amer­ica First” doc­trine in­cludes a proac­tive and strong ap­proach to U.S. for­eign pol­icy — while stay­ing out of the busi­ness of na­tion-build­ing and end­less wars.

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