In his American Conservative piece, “Donald Trump is Samson, Blinded by Ring of Delilahs: Will he bring down the temple and all of us with it?” Ron Maxwell writes, “Samson is blind, only in this case his eyesight has not been taken by a lone Delilah. He’s been blinded by a coterie of White House advisors and West Wing ideologues who tell him one story over and over again, keeping all other narratives far away and out of sight.”
Americans are war weary. What does America have to gain in Syria? Trump’s America First theme is what put him in office, not neocons such as United States Ambassador Nikki Haley—a “Never Trumper” right up to the election, Maxwell reminds us.
This is the fairy tale world inhabited by Nikki Haley, Lindsey Graham, John Bolton, Brian Hook, Condoleezza Rice, and most of the sclerotic experts at State and Defense. No amount of failure, no amount of death and destruction causes the least bit of introspection, reconsideration, or reflection—let alone remorse or contrition.
We can imagine the meeting at the Oval Office. Dear Mister President, here are your options:
- A missile strike on a Syrian airbase. But since you did that a year ago and nothing was accomplished other than killing a few airmen and destroying a few grounded jets with missing parts, maybe we should up the ante.
- Ground the entire Syrian air force with a massive strike. This is the option being promoted by Lindsey Graham. It would most assuredly kill many, many more Syrian soldiers and civilians and guarantee Assad’s attention. Maybe even Putin’s.
- Decapitate the regime by launching missile and drone strikes at every known Assad hideout and bunker. This would also kill plenty of Syrian soldiers and civilians and might even succeed in “taking out” Assad, to use again one of Graham’s favorite phrases.
- Launch a George W. Bush-style flat-out invasion of Syria. Capture Damascus and install a Jeffersonian democracy on the recalcitrant heathens.
We can picture our duly elected Samson mulling this over with purpose and consternation. Then he asks, “If we take options one, two, three, or four, what will the Syrians do? What will the Turks do? The Iranians? The radical Islamists? The Russians?“
The interventionist cabal has their answers ready, the way they did in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, the way they always do: “Not to worry Mr. President. We have it all under control. We are defending the new world order. We are promoting freedom. We are making the world safe for democracy. We are fighting the war to end all wars. Just trust us. It’ll all work out just fine.”
At which point Samson interrupts: “But what about the American people? How do any of these options make them safer or the homeland more secure?”
The high priesthood of foreign policy knows its man: “Mr. President, you’ll show the entire world you are not a man to be messed with. You’ll show them who’s boss.”
At which point the blinkered and blinded Samson replies: “Its going to be very tough, very tough. There will be a big price to pay.”
So will Samson bring down the temple and with it all of us? Or will wiser heads prevail?
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