Donald Trump has done something presidential. And what a shame it came so soon. The president has no idea what he is getting himself, or his country, into.
In punishing Bashar al-Assad for the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, Trump has found what his presidency has lacked from the start: the praise that he craves from the Washington establishment, its think tankers, and prestige journalists. He's also found the excitement of asking for something to be done and seeing it done immediately.
But there are great dangers for his presidency in making regime change in Syria his policy.
There is a sense of deja vu about the Syrian strike and its attendant developments. So much of it harkens back to 2002 and 2003. All the machinery of America's security apparatus suddenly clacks into motion in anticipation of the president's order to attack. The personnel shifts on the National Security Council, now that grave matters are at stake. Television anchors invoke the "beauty" of munitions firing from a naval ship into a dark night. PR gurus spring forth to deliver to the American people considered messages about the considered messages the American government is sending to the world through the considerable bombing of some godforsaken part of it. There's the American official, one who might be president someday, being congratulated for maintaining a tone of defiant moral purpose when talking about weapons of mass destruction at the U.N. It was Nikki Haley this time, not Colin Powell, and the cheers are coming in, as if her words were the hard-rock riff kicking off the dazzling third act of a comic-book movie.