For John, BLUF: President Trump continues to befuddle the press. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Some are suggesting that President Trump, who campaigned against getting involved in Syria, has now switched to the position of being involved. Please don't be confused by the media and punditry. This is the President taking specific action in regard to a specific situation.
For example, there is this article from The Old Gray Lady, by Reporter Peter Baker, from yesterday.
Here is the lede:
As he confronted a series of international challenges from the Middle East to Asia last week, President Trump made certain that nothing was certain about his foreign policy. To the extent that a Trump Doctrine is emerging, it seems to be this: don’t get roped in by doctrine.The Punditry and the Think Tanks seem to be populated with people with short term memories. Does no one remember that during the primary election and the general election Candidate Trump always responded when he thought people were disrespecting him. That is the case here.
The President had signaled that we could live with a President Assad. That was part of the President preparing to move on. Part of the President preparing to reduce our profile in the Middle East.
Then President Assad (mistakenly) takes the signal from Washington as a Green Light to do as he sees fit. That was a mistake. President Trump took President Assad's actions as trampling on his (President Trump's) willingness to move along.
If you are looking for a "doctrine" to describe President Trump's approach, try "Don't Tread on Me".
Regards — Cliff