Peace in our time? Really?

Is the Trump Administration preparing for war in Syria and North Korea? 

By the time this column appears, the American naval task force, led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, will be in the Sea of Japan, on the Western side of Japan, yet within range of North Korea. We’ll know more about what the Trump Administration is up to and whether either side has upped the stakes in the Middle East.

Many believe “America first” excludes civil wars elsewhere, such as Syria. On the other hand, others believe that we must act morally in the face of genocide and the use of chemical weapons. How do we avoid the extreme of progressive Democrat President Woodrow Wilson, who urged, in 1917, that America enter World War I, “to make the world safe for democracy?” That was a step toward World War II.

Candidate Donald Trump said stay out of Syria; President Trump bombed Syria. Was it a measured move or a warm up for what’s to come? The media presents Rex Tillerson as a tough-talking Secretary of State representing the Trump Doctrine. Whatever Trump’s doctrine is, the American people will never confuse it with the Monroe Doctrine. We suggest the Trump Administration get a clear and precise policy on what they want to do, how they want to do it, and when they want to do it, whether incrementally or in sudden bursts.

As the world becomes more dangerous each day, a catastrophic mistake would cost the lives of thousands of young Americans in military action, even though before Donald Trump’s election, he criticized President Obama for even talking about taking military action in Syria. The American people are not committed to engaging in a two-front war on Syria and North Korea, 6,677 miles from the United States. Do we stay home, send troops, or should we use drones and long-range missiles to influence their thinking?

Trump drew a “red line.” The Iran, Russia, Hezbollah communique, in support of actions, also drew a “red line” vis a vis U.S. action. They did not condemn Syria for use of chemical weapons against its own people.

We are dealing with foes in possession of nuclear capability: Iran, North Korea, China and Russia. China and Russia would consider an attack on North Korea as a threat to their national security. Threat to their boundary becomes clear when looking at a world map.

The United States will be hard pressed, militarily and economically, to carry out a two-front war with adversaries having nuclear capacity and the military wherewithal to engage in a prolonged conflict. Let us remember, Democrat and Republican politicians and the military-industrial complex assured America that Iraq and Afghanistan would be a walk in the park. That was more than 13 years ago. We now have special forces on the ground in Syria. Will that escalate to setting the world afire?

This president needs to educate himself about the reality of foreign affairs, they are not renditions of The Apprentice. “You’re fired” can cause catastrophic consequences. A two-front conflict can eat up all of the funds and all of the budget for infrastructure. Moreover, it will impact jobs, health care, and American general well-being. Even more tragically, that conflict would eliminate the president’s promise to take care of inner cities.

With the wrong mindset, a miscalculation could set the world on fire, something none of us would live through.

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