When President Donald Trump took office less than three months ago, few would have predicted that he would find himself so quickly launching military strikes against Syria. Since January, his administration has been quietly reducing support for Syria’s rebels, seemingly opening the door for an eventual settlement that might leave Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in charge. None of that was necessarily changed by Thursday night’s missile strikes against the air base believed responsible for a suspected nerve gas attack barely 72 hours earlier. In taking such aggressive action so quickly, however, Trump has sent what he sees as a strong, robust message of U.S. resolve – not just to Damascus but also other potential U.S. opponents including Russia, China and most particularly North Korea. Some kind of action was probably inevitable – and had Barack Obama still been in the White House, he might have taken a similar step. The Russia-brokered deal that averted U.S. military action after t...

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