After Syria Strike, Populist Supporters Abandon Trump at Home, Abroad
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Right-wing populist supporters of Donald Trump at home and abroad are criticizing US President’s decision to strike a Syrian airbase in retaliation for allegations on a chemical weapons attack.
Nigel Farage, the pro-Brexit leader, aligned himself with Trump during last year's campaign, spoke at his rallies and was among the first to meet with him after his election. On Friday, however, he said he was "very surprised" by the Syria action.
"I think a lot of Trump voters will be waking up this morning and scratching their heads and saying, 'Where will it all end?'" he said, CNN reported on Saturday.
Farage's comments captured the wave of right-wing anger and frustration that followed the US strike -- and they pointed up an odd reversal.
Populists who applauded Trump for his disdain for US interventions overseas and his campaign declaration that the US "cannot be the policeman of the world" were aghast by the strike. In contrast, an international community that has often held Trump at arm's length stepped up to declare their rock-solid support for the new US president.
United Kingdom Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told said that "we fully support what the Americans have done," adding that the strike was "limited and wholly appropriate."
This made for a stark contrast to Farage, who urged Britain not to get involved in any further strikes. "Previous interventions in the Middle East have made things worse rather than better," Farage said.
The current leader of Farage's Independence Party, Paul Nuttall, said the strike was "rash, trigger-happy, nonsensical and will achieve nothing. I hoped for better."
In France, National Front leader Marine Le Pen also appeared to distance herself from Trump, saying on Twitter that she "strongly condemned" the "horrible" strike on the Syrian airbase.
"Is it too much to ask that we wait for the results of an independent international investigation before carrying out a strike like this in Syria?" she told France 2 television on Friday.
Populist leaders within the US registered their disapproval as well. "I'm deeply concerned that these strikes could lead to the United States once again being dragged back into the quagmire of long-term military engagement in the Middle East," said Vermont's Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. "If the last 15 years have shown anything, it's that such engagements are disastrous for American security, for the American economy and for the American people."
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a staunch advocate for keeping the US out of foreign entanglements, called on Trump to consult on Congress. "While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked," Paul said. "The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate."
Conservative foreign policy experts who often support the President's positions also expressed dismay. John Glaser, the Cato Institute's associate director of foreign policy studies, said that "Trump's decision to attack the Syrian regime has no legal authority and little chance of actually mitigating the suffering of Syrians caught in the civil war."
Glaser went on the say that "the key now is to see whether Trump will be able to resist the temptation to escalate and avoid the kind of mission creep that has sucked the United States into hopeless Middle East quagmires in the past."