When the Assad regime used chemical nerve agents on its own people, many experts across the political and social spectrum claimed it was merely a test to see how President Trump would react. For years, the Assad regime went essentially unchecked for a number of reasons. The current GOP narrative is that Assad was able to stay in power for so long because of inaction from the Obama administration, but what they forget to mention is that Obama wanted to respond with military action, but chose to seek approval from Congress before doing so. He didn’t get that approval, so he didn’t enact a military response.
President Donald Trump, on the other hand, sought no permission from Congress before retaliating to the terrorist regime. While this decision has been lauded by some as a brave and strong choice, it has been criticized and questioned by a strikingly vast portion of not just American society, but the entire world. Many experts claimed the response was not only unconstitutional, but that it was also directly illegal. Others who were favor of the response claimed that it wasn’t technically an act of war, but merely a response to an isolated event.
Regardless of whether the move was technically illegal, everyone essentially agrees that Trump will have to seek the approval of Congress if he wishes to pursue further action in Syria. Of course, with the vast number of potential negative consequences for following such a course, Trump may very well decide not to continue. His supposed ‘friend’ and dictator of the Russian people, Vladimir Putin, claimed the attack would only work to weaken the relationship between the United States and Russia, primarily because Putin and Russia are technically allied with Assad. Putin has stated that there is a limit to what sort of behaviors he will tolerate from Assad, and apparently using chemical weapons on their own citizens is tolerable for Putin.
One of the most notable responses came from the President of China, Xi Jinping, who was visiting Trump at his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort when the attack was launched. Trump has consistently spent his weekends golfing at the resort, so it should come as no surprise that he approved the attack from the resort. The dignitary from China apparently made no comments on the decision while visiting Trump, but that changed the moment President Xi returned to China.
After the Chinese president returned home, the state-run media outlet released a statement regarding Trump’s decision to send an airstrike against the Syrian airfield. Xinhua, the news agency in question, called the response “the act of a weakened politician who needed to flex his muscles”. Like many other news outlets that have made the same suggestion, they also stated that the airstrike could have been a move that was meant to distance Trump from any evidence that he might be a puppet of the Russian regime. Others have suggested that even Putin knew about the attack and was in favor of how it would potentially affect the President’s image in America.
It is quite clear that the Chinese news outlet was openly mocking Trump for his childish and immature response to the original Syrian attack. After Trump and Xi met at his Mar-a-Lago resort, the American president stated that the leaders made tremendous progress with their diplomatic relations, but it seems fairly obvious that Xi didn’t share that sentiment. Indeed, this pattern that Trump has of misreading his foreign peers could easily lead to diplomatic issues down the road. If Trump is so blind to the true will of others, how can he be called an effective leader?