The Us dropped a bomb and Fox News went crazy. You might almost think that the US had never done such a thing before. So what was different?
The answer has nothing to do with dropping that particular bomb in itself. The bomb that was dropped was big, but so what? Tactically, the US achieved very little bu dropping it. But something else is going on. And that is the bigger story.
That something else is a perceived renewed aggressiveness in US foreign policy. The Trumpsters want to appear more aggressive in the various conflict zones around the world – Afghanistan, Syria and North Korea. And so we have the mother of all bombs dropped in Afghanistan, a cruise missile strike in Syria, and warships sailing to the Korean peninsula.
This president means business! Of does he? The reality is that Trump desperately needs some sort of good news. A victory. Why? To counter a building narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian intelligence to steal the election. And to distract folks from the string of domestic policy disasters that have defined the Trump administration so far. To change the narrative from Trump is lazy, corrupt and incompetent to Trump is decisive.
Trump discovered that launching cruise missiles to blow up some buildings in Syria provided a temporary distraction in the media. Dropping the mother of all bombs on a remote ISIS outpost in Afghanistan made Fox News go nuts. Sailing warships to Korea creates more potential news.
But will getting more aggressive produce any results? Former US Presidents have walked down this path from time to time. Johnson and Nixon got very aggressive in Vietnam. Reagan got aggressive in Nicaragua and Lebanon. Bush got aggressive in Afghanistan and Iraq. In each case, lots of folks got killed. But when you think about it, none of those steps led to a quick victory. The did, on the other hand, produce an aggressive response.
So I expect the same to happen here. Too bad for those who will get killed. And too bad for those who don’t believe that military action should be used for political gain. But here w are. Nothing else has worked for Trump so far. And he appears to be enjoying himself playing the role of “Commander in Cheif”. So here we go again! Unleash the Gorgon!