The Danger of Encouragement
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Stories on President Trump’s recent bombings of Syria and Afghanistan have been consistently circulating in the news lately, and his actions have received both bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition. The airstrikes on a Syrian airfield as well as the bomb dropped in Afghanistan have been a polarizing series of events on both sides of the political spectrum, dividing Trump supporters and opposers alike.
There are valid aspects to both sides of the issue. Many feel as though the actions the Syrian government has taken against its own people through the use of chemical weapons justifies President Trump sending a message that the free world will not stand for such violence and immorality. An equal many fear the implications of such an act of war, and believe that these aggressive actions will have severe and regrettable ramifications towards the foreign affairs of the United States.
It is common knowledge that President Trump has received a large amount of opposition as a governmental leader in the brief time he has held office. Although his airstrike on Syria divided citizens even further, the only group that did not seem divided was the media. Regardless of political affiliation or bias, the majority of news outlets produced significant praise for Trump’s bombings.
Saying that Trump cares deeply for how the media and the public perceives him would be an understatement. There is no doubt that he took notice of the positive attention that his term has seen so little of prior to his military action. Due to the absence of doubt in this area, it would not be farfetched to say that the positive feedback he received for the strike formed a connection between popularity and decisive aggression on foreign powers in his mind. His more recent attack on Afghanistan serves as evidence for this claim.
Trump has justifiable reasons for both attacks, and his decision to bomb Syria and Afghanistan should not be totally reduced to a ploy to gain approval. However, it should be considered that encouraging Trump when he bombs someone may lead to him bombing more people for the sake of positive feedback. Trump has not demonstrated himself to be the most mature or independent president, and his track record shows that he cares far too much about the how opposed to him the media and the majority of the country are. It is not unwise to think very carefully about how to respond to his demonstrations of military might for the sake of his crave for popularity. As of now, his actions have not been unjustified, so making such an accusation is premature, but it is worth keeping in mind as a danger as we progress further into Trump’s presidency.