In the span of a few weeks President Trump has reversed his position on a number of leading campaign issues: American Involvement in Syria, China as a currency manipulator, and apparently how much golf a Chief Executive should play :). For the purposes of this article we want to focus conversation on American involvement in Syria. Although there is continued disagreement as to the coherence of the decision making, and the effectiveness of the U.S. delivered missile strikes, most believe President Trump’s thought processes have completely reversed regarding U.S. involvement in Syria. Contrast this quote taken from President Trump’s statement on why he ordered the strike with his response to a voter at a Campaign town-hall meeting in February 2016: “My fellow Americans: On Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
President Trump’s statements to a New Hampshire voters in February 2016 a day before the Republican Primary: “Syrian children refugees seeking asylum in the U.S.: “You can’t come here…I can look in their faces and say, ‘You can’t come here’,’”. Now that candidate Trump is President Trump he has experienced the huge responsibility that accompanies being Chief Executive of the world’s largest and most powerful democracy. In time, I hope that he and his administration will also realize their immigration policy is inconsistent with the values and ideals that have already made America great! How can you on one-hand say, that the deaths of the Syrian people by poison gas is unacceptable, but on the other hand say that death and suffering by other means is okay? That is the defacto American policy when we close our borders to war and political refugees. Such a policy is incoherent at best, and borderline schizophrenic at worst. The war on terror is an ideological war. When we abandon our beliefs and values out of fear, we concede an important symbolic victory to the terrorist.
The word’s of British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill have application for America today. The “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself”! Inherent in the responsibilities of President of the United States, leader of the free world, is an implied responsibility to lead-Lead the American people and buoy their strength, commitment and resolve to live by that which has always distinguished us, and made us great, and not play to our darkest, most divisive fears; we are a nation of immigrants. In the words of Dr. King, “…Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”