The Trump administration has done an abrupt about-face on Syria, contradicting its own nascent foreign policy. Within 24 hours, it went from calling out the Assad regime for using chemical weapons to launching missiles at military targets. As limited as the strikes were, there are also statements that plans are in the works to target Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: It “would seem there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said of Assad on April 6.
Launching 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield in response to a Syrian chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians raises important questions. Does the president have, or should he have, the authority to use military force without the explicit consent of Congress?
Make no mistake. The April 6 U.S. airstrike on Syria following Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapon attack is a remarkable shift in President Donald Trump’s – and Washington’s – past policy.
In a recent speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, the American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, made clear the Trump administration wants to slash U.S. funds to the U.N., including support for peacekeeping. Ambassador Haley also asserted that “The United States is the moral conscience of the world.”
President Donald Trump seeks to fulfill his campaign promise to “put America first” in his proposed 2018 budget.