I cannot resist asking the question: Is the president of the United States “leading from behind” with his decision to join in the expulsion of Russian “diplomats”?
About two dozen nations have joined a sort of class-action expulsion of Russian officials as a way to punish the Russian government over its poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in Great Britain.
The United States joined that effort. Indeed, Donald Trump has ordered the closing of the Russian consulate in Seattle, citing its proximity to the giant Boeing aircraft assembly plant and the big U.S. Navy base in nearby Bremerton, Wash.
Don’t misunderstand this point: I applaud the president for joining this allied effort to punish the Russians. They are bad actors on the world stage.
However, we heard a drumbeat of criticism from Republicans that then-President Barack Obama was “leading from behind” on issues relating to, oh, Syria, Libya and the continuing war against international terror. Critics accused the president of failing to take the lead on diplomatic and military efforts.
So, does that criticism apply here? The president of the world’s most powerful nation has acquired some valuable political cover by joining other nations in this punishment of Russia, which is governed by that former KGB spy, Vladimir Putin.
Doesn’t the world’s pre-eminent military and economic power have an obligation to take the lead, rather than stand among the crowd?