There’s no doubt that President Trump has been controversial around the world. Mostly, it’s his “America first” mentality that has a way of rubbing the rest of the world the wrong way. Of course, Trump was elected to be president of the United States, and has shown little concern about how he’s perceived overseas.
However, as the world has grown used to Trump’s leadership style, minds have been changing. President Trump has renewed America’s commitment to global leadership, something the world was in desperate need of after 8 years of timid Obama policies.
Nowhere was this shift in global attitudes more evident than in the wake of the horrific chemical attack in Syria. During similar circumstances in 2013, President Obama spoke of a red line that would not be crossed. But when Syria crossed that line, Obama didn’t take action. It was a signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. was weak and unwilling to lead.
However, 2017 is proving to be a different story. When Syria crossed the line again, President Trump wasted no time taking decisive action. This resurgence of American leadership has world leaders singing a new tune.
President Trump’s decision to launch an airstrike against a Syrian airbase thought to be the source of Tuesday’s chemical weapons attack drew widespread approval from European leaders, who deemed the assault proportionate and justified.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the action was an “appropriate response” to the “barbaric” chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime.
UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon noted that the strike was a United States operation, “but let me emphasize again we fully support it.”
“This strike was very limited to one airfield, it was entirely appropriate, it’s designed to deter the regime from carrying out further chemical weapons attacks,” he said.
But it wasn’t just our closest ally praising Trump. Other European leaders were just as supportive:
“President Assad bears sole responsibility for this development,” declared German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande in a joint statement Friday. “His repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own population had to be sanctioned.”
“The action Trump ordered tonight was a response to a war crime,” said Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, “a war crime under the responsibility of Bashar Al Assad.”
“Italy understands the reasons for U.S. military action proportionate in time and manner,” said Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano,
And it wasn’t just European leaders. All over the world, praise was coming in for the president’s actions:
“Israel fully supports President Trump’s decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime’s horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere,” Netanyahu said.
Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull said his government fully supported the strike, called the move a “swift and just response.”
Unsurprisingly, Russia’s government wasn’t as supportive:
“Russia will demand an urgent UN Security Council meeting after the US airstrike on Syrian aviation base. This is an act of aggression against a UN member,” the Kremlin stated, adding that it was an act of “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law.”
Regardless, the world is starting to realize things have changed. In 2017, there’s a new sheriff on the block. Under Trump’s leadership, America appears poised to lead from the front again. For most of the world, that’s a welcome change.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]