On Saturday, Redstate reported the deaths of two coalition members near Manbij, Syria.
It was the first casualty for Americans since the siege of Raqqa in 2016 and the first known British casualty of the entire Syrian conflict. 36 year-old Master Sgt. Jonathan Dunbar of Austin, Texas and Sgt. Matt Tonroe of Britain’s Special Air Services were both killed killed when an improvised explosive device was detonated. It is not known who committed the act and with the amount of firepower sitting in eastern Syria it’s not likely anyone will lay claim to it.
The British soldier killed in the same attack was Sgt. Matt Tonroe, a member of their elite Special Air Service (SAS) unit.
— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) March 31, 2018
With no current Secretary of State and a Secretary of Defense who doesn’t say anymore to the media than he absolutely has to that leaves the messaging in Syria to President Trump alone. That’s a terrible mixture. A situation as volatile as what’s occurring along the Euphrates River with United States and Turkish military is as touchy as a situation can get.
The mixture is a populist authoritarian in Turkish President Erdogan who seeks to expand his consolidated power into northern Syria; a Russia eager to expand its brand of stability and security in the middle eastern by propping up Syrian president Bashar Al Assad; an Iranian element who has lost its Iran Deal leverage and is increasingly looking at Israel; a sizably well-armed Kurdish proxy in the Syrian Democratic Forces; Al Qaeda; the Islamic State; and Donald Trump.
There is no one directing traffic on messaging in the White House. The president is just as likely to alienate an ally as he is to offend an adversary. Letting him loose on twitter and watching as he “tells it like it is” is the dumbest possible strategy. This is not hyperbole. The situation in Syria could go sideways on a dime. The president has to be disciplined — and well — act like a president.
The circus is getting old and for once it can actually cost people their lives. It feels somewhat like the boy who cried wolf. The American left spent 18 months acting as the president’s words were dangerous and when they actually are no one says anything. It’s a really bizarre time in America.
The president should be consoling the family of Mst Sgt. Dunbar and reaching out to the British people to thank them for their sacrifice and continued to commitment to our “special relationship”, as Nikki Haley put it. It is imperative that the White House tighten up its messaging and see things through in foreign policy. America’s foreign policy credibility is in desperate need of restoration. Maybe there isn’t a better version of Trump coming and if that’s the case he should just be quiet.