Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 8:57 AM

Assad responds…

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Syrian warplanes took off from an air base which was hit by US cruise missiles on Friday, and carried out air strikes on rebel-held areas in the eastern Homs countryside, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

(Reuters, April 7, 2017)

Only God knows what “message” Trump thought he was sending with his pinprick strikes. But Assad responded with the universally recognized middle finger. He even mocked Trump’s fecklessness by bombing more of the same innocent victims Trump claims are now his responsibility to protect.

Meanwhile, Trump spent most of his time between golf swings today tweeting fatuous explanations for Assad’s defiant response. Whereas he should’ve been trying to figure out what move to make now to save face — for himself and the United States. And, in doing so, he would have done well to remember this fleeting bit of intelligence … and be guided by it:

What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Aug. 29, 2013

Apropos of more debt, each of the cruise missiles Trump launched in his vainglorious attack cost $1 million. So that’s $60 million, plus millions more in operational costs, down the drain.

Mind you, as I posited in yesterday’s “Wag the Dog” commentary, Trump’s strikes were aimed more at lifting his poll numbers than destroying Assad’s military arsenal. Sure enough, reports are that he got a little bounce, which he’s exploiting (while it lasts) for all it’s worth.

Thus, for this self-aggrandizing  schmuck, it was all money well spent.

Apropos of hypocrisy, Trump is just the most obnoxious among far too many Republican politicians and right-wing pundits who condemned Obama for proposing missile strikes after Assad perpetrated that infamous chemical attack in 2013. Yet, to a person, these same politicians and pundits are hailing Trump (and Trump is hailing himself) for doing what Obama merely proposed.

Incidentally, I am profoundly stupefied that putative liberal Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN’s GPS, joined this hailing frenzy. Specifically, he proclaimed that “Trump became president” by bombing Syria. But “Fareed’s Take” is especially stupefying because he went on, almost in the same breath, to concede that this bombing seems unhinged from any coherent strategy to deal with the Syrian crisis.

Sure enough, we’re already hearing inevitable second thoughts from those who, just yesterday, were hailing Trump as a latter-day Constantine the Great. And Turkey, America’s most reliable ally in the Muslim world, is leading this hangover chorus (in the voice of its Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu):

If this intervention is limited only to an air base, if it does not continue and if we don’t remove the regime from heading Syria, then this would remain a cosmetic intervention.

(Associated Press, April 8, 2017)

Actually, calling it a “cosmetic intervention” – for a man for whom image is everything – is probably quite flattering.

Meanwhile, in the midst of this wag-the-dog focus on Syria, Trump convened and ended his over-hyped summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping as if it were nothing more than a playa inviting his side piece over for a late-night booty call.

Why no press conference, for example? Am I the only one who noticed this? Especially given that he made a show of holding one after hosting British Prime Minister Theresa May, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Jordanian King Abdullah, and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Things must not have gone down too well between Trump an Xi. Specifically, the purported master of the Art of the Deal clearly negotiated nothing worth mentioning on hot-button issues like bi-lateral trade, North Korea, or Taiwan.

Only this explains Xi slinking back to China in the middle of the night on Friday. It also explains why he probably rolled his eyes when he heard Trump bragging about their “outstanding” friendship; you know, just as a woman might if she heard her minute-man lover bragging about their terrific sex life.

Related commentaries:
Wag the dog strikes

* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Saturday, at 6:23 p.m.

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