If Vladimir Putin had any notions of manipulating, sweet talking or controlling President Donald Trump, those hopes were dashed on Thursday with Trump’s missile strike in Syria.
The Russian president and his Kremlin cabal likely felt genuine shock when Trump ordered a hit on a Syrian airbase in retaliation to chemical attacks on civilians allegedly ordered by Bashar al-Assad, Putin’s ally. Russia called Trump’s actions “aggressive”, conveniently forgetting their own tactics in Ukraine and eastern Europe.
Wasn’t this the same Trump who’s praised Putin repeatedly, who’s acted chummy with Russia since before his election last November? Wasn’t this the same Trump who time and again railed against intervention in the Middle East.
Even as the Russian bear scratches its head after being poked in the eye, Putin isn’t the only one reeling at Thursday’s missile strike. Many of Trump’s longtime supporters, his legion of web based troglodytes, turned on their one time messiah in the wake of intervening in Syria, feeling betrayed at his blatant contradiction of the “America first” campaign promise.
Perhaps Trump felt truly compelled by footage of Syrian children choking helplessly while their parents watched them die. Perhaps the president seeks to convince those who believe he is a Russian puppet otherwise.
More likely that same message is meant for Mr. Putin, though whether the Russian president realizes this remains to be seen.
Maybe Trump experienced a pragmatic epiphany, realizing leadership sometimes requires a president to go against his base for what he believes is a higher cause. Maybe Trump just wants everyone to understand he’ll do whatever the hell he wants.
Whatever Trump’s reasons, that last point is now clear to the whole world, especially to Putin. Hyperbole aside, Trump is his own man with his own agenda.
The president won’t be cajoled and pushed in any direction by anyone; the only road he’ll take is his own. Whether it’s his base, Steve Bannon, the United Nations or Putin trying to back him into a corner, Trump will upend whatever schemes are thrown at him by doing the last thing anyone is expecting.
World leaders, especially Putin, should take this to heart. Trump may not drain the DC or UN swamp, but his business will never be business as usual.
Hopefully Mr. Putin enjoyed that sweet sweet honeymoon. The vacation cruise is finished.
William Hadden is a contributor at Politicsay. He graduated from Belmont University with a degree in Journalism with a minor in Audio Video Production. William writes on American domestic issues, as well as both American and international political news.