Last night, President Donald Trump justified his 59-missile attack on Syria by saying that the country had, “violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council.”
Here’s the problem. With the notable exception of Russia, Trump did not discuss the attack with either the UN Security Council or any of the more than 200 member states comprising the Chemical Weapons Convention. That includes U.S. ally Italy, and former Prime Minister Enrico Letta is not happy about it.
Letta called the unilateral attack part of Trump’s “zigzag foreign policy” and told CNBC, “It seems to be a little bit rushed and we have to know what will be the consequences and what will be the next steps. Is it tit for tat? Is it a one off? Maybe it is too early to say.”
In the view of the Italian leader, this is no isolated incident. Rather, he sees a the strike as only the latest in a capricious pattern for the Trump presidency.
“In the first two months of his Presidency we were there seeing and watching changes in each week with a different angle and a different point of view. So in the last few days, my feeling is that the decision was influenced, the emotional swings were very important to influence the decisions, pictures and so on.”
That is not to say that Letta in any way defends Bashar al Assad or is suggesting his actions should be ignored. “What happened with the gas attacks was terrible and Assad is guilty,” he said. “But I repeat, to have a foreign policy military policy you need to have a comprehensive strategy and not a zigzag foreign policy. That worries me.”
For all of his concerns, however, Letta ended on a positive note, looking forward to the possibilities of future cooperation. “I hope European leaders help in shaping Trump’s foreign policy,” he said, “because we need to strengthen the Transatlantic Alliance.”
Sheila Norton is a writer with ten years of Capitol Hill experience. Subscribe to the OD Action email to get all the hottest news delivered right to your inbox every day at www.odaction.com