The UN has been worthless by design from the get-go. Any institution that gives certain members an absolute veto over any action by that institution isn’t going to get anything done, especially when one of those members, the USSR and now Russia, is going to abuse that privilege. The institution as a whole is completely without a moral compass, and shows zero judgment or even consideration what nations it allows to sit on what committees. It’s a bad joke when Syria is about to sit on a committee concerning chemical weapons and Iran and North Korea can sit on committees regarding human rights. Other than Korea (because the USSR walked out), name one situation where the UN stepped in and took decisive action.
As for criticism of the President for finally taking action [in Syria], I think he actually did a pretty good job of fooling the media and probably others by making it look like he was backing off the immediacy of the attack to do some more coalition building with the allies and to let the USS Truman and its battle group get into position, which they should do in the next couple of days. Of course that led to a lot of talk about how this would just peter out, that Trump wasn’t going to enforce anything just like Obama didn’t and so forth. It turns out the coalition was already ready to go, and the forces in the area were plenty up to the task already. Maybe a dozen aircraft and five ships did the actual firing of weapons, including 30 missiles fired by the cruiser USS Monterey (a big reason to keep the Ticonderoga-class cruisers sailing).
I can understand some of the reactions. It’s just politics as usual, necessary action when your party’s President does something, but reckless or wrong or whatever when the other side’s President does it. There are a few principled peaceful people, who can be ignored, saying any use of force is wrong under any circumstances and a few folks justifiably gun-shy because of the mess that Iraq became.
Others, however, are just more attacks because it’s Trump, and Trump does everything with a bullseye painted on his back. He may have once been the coolest or the richest or whatever guy in the class, but now he’s a pariah. He’s the guy who can’t walk home from school without classmates poking fun at his bag, his clothing, his gait, his speed, or whatever they can think of, just because it’s him and they just hate him that much. It isn’t “good-natured ribbing.” It isn’t “toughening him up.” It isn’t “building character.” It’s just plain irrational hatred that can’t really be explained. It used to be that kids grew out of this kind of behavior. Sometimes the target struck back. Sometimes eventually even the bullies’ peers would tell them “come off it, we’re getting too old for this.” If that didn’t do it, hopefully some reasonably intelligent authority figure would finally say “Enough. No more harassment, no more name-calling, no more any of this crap. Take up fishing, take up painting, take up whatever, but you find yourself another damn hobby than this pathetic obsession with making your classmate’s life miserable.”
I’m not saying Trump is above criticism. I’m not saying any President is above criticism. I’m not saying military action is above criticism, although I think there should be a presumption in support of the American armed forces when they go into battle. I am saying that policy-oriented criticism is one thing. Action-oriented criticism is one thing. Results-oriented criticism is one thing. However, treating the elected President of this nation like he is that kid who you used to mercilessly give crap to in class by mocking his voice or repeating everything he said, in activities or sports whenever something went wrong (because he could NEVER do anything right) and on the way to and from school just because he was him and you hated him is ridiculous, wrong, and frankly toxic. That’s why someone like a Charles Blow, who openly said he’s going to fight the President to the end, needs one of those authority figure speeches, and maybe the whole media sector needs to be told something along those lines.