Trump’s cautious and necessary start to rebuilding American credibility

Whose judgement can you trust in such a snake pit as foreign relations? But with Trump, at least I am never in any doubt that he is on the same side as I am in every conflict. Two stellar authorities among the many who comment have recently written on where he has taken the US since becoming president. Let me start with The Diplomad: Climbing out of the Obama Foreign Policy Hole. There he writes:

The Russians and the Chinese certainly have taken note of the change in Washington, and I suspect that the regimes in Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, and the fetid leaders of ISIS and the other radical Islamist death cults have, as well. We can see positive change all around; we see it in the willingness of the Chinese to work much more energetically to control Krazy Kim and deal with the unbalanced nature of our bilateral trade, we see it in the Russian acquiescence to our blasting their Syrian ally, we even see it on our border where illegal crossings have plummeted as the coyotes fear the new sheriff.

I am optimistic that we have begun the long climb out of the Obama foreign policy hole.

The same note is struck by Claudia Rosett: Trump juggles the foreign policy balls Obama dropped.

The Trump administration is taking heat for striking a Syrian air base with Tomahawk missiles and hitting ISIS terrorists in Afghanistan with a MOAB, a conventional bomb so big that it has been dubbed the “Mother of All Bombs.” No doubt there are useful debates to be had about the pros and cons, both tactical and juridical. But one sure upside of these strikes is that they are a step toward restoring abroad the credibility of America as a power to be reckoned with.

That’s big, in ways that go way beyond the immediate battlefields. In a world grown dramatically more dangerous during President Obama’s eight years of appeasement and retreat, America badly and urgently needs to restore its lost credibility. . . .

Obama’s policies invited the world’s most dangerous actors to conclude that America would no longer act in defense of the Free World, or of the rules and understandings that promote a modicum of peace. This is a path to conflict and carnage on a scale not seen since World War II. It is imperative that Trump find ways to change this calculus.

One need not love the use of ordnance to appreciate that with the unprecedented moves of hitting a Syrian air base with cruise missiles and dropping a MOAB to obliterate an ISIS nest in Afghanistan, he has sent an important message, in terms that predatory tyrants, from Moscow to Beijing to Tehran to Pyongyang, will understand.

Both should be read in full. It is an always dangerous world, and even more dangerous after eight years of Obama. But these seem to be calculated risks and nothing done so far seems to have been anything other than temperate. The risks remain enormous, but to me anyway, they seem the right steps to have taken.

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