I often touted the term “appearance over substance” in my writing; attributing this character flaw to the left. By this I mean the left values appearance above and beyond reality. As long as things appear as they want them to appear, substance (reality) can go to hell.
The left has many reasons to value and push “appearance over substance”.
While the right is far from the ideology of substance, they do value substance over appearance more often than not; whereas appearance is a defining characteristic of the left. Granted, the right might be more prone to this failing if they had the great enabler the left does… the Main Stream Media. It hard to push appearance when the MSM calls bullshit all the time (even when it’s not)… it’s easy when given a free ticket.
The reason I bring this up is every now and then we are witness to events where someone has to clean up a mess created by the left when they have pushed appearance over substance (reality). This happened recently when Trump launched missiles on Syrian targets that had just used chemical weapons against civilians.
Now, I’m simply looking at the why Trump felt the need to do this. Not whether or not I agree with the decision; not whether or not it was the right decision, and not whether or not Trump is a hypocrite based on earlier statements concerning Syrian intervention…
Why Trump felt the need to respond in such a manner is totally valid; dead civilians (about 80), especially dead children, at the order of Bashar al-Assad via chemical weapons. Unless you’re just absolutely intellectually bankrupt, these are the facts. And unless you’re completely heartless, you have to admit those facts warrant consideration.
But back to the appearance over substance.
In 2012, President Barack Obama “drew a red line” on Syrian use of chemical weapons, and then did nothing when that line was crossed. That was a problem for Obama, but nothing appearance over substance couldn’t fix. The Obama administration went to work diplomatically. In a deal with the Russians, and with oversight of the United Nations, Syria identified 1300 tons of chemical weapons. These were destroyed and the left crowed about this great success.
2014, “We got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out” of Syria — Former Secretary of State John Kerry
2016, January “All chemical weapons declared by the Syrian Arab Republic.” have been disposed of. — Veolia (the firm contracted to carry out the process)
2017, January “We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.” — Former national security adviser Susan Rice (NPR)
Get the picture, Obama (and his administration) was so ingenious, that he accomplished diplomatically what he and others failed to do militarily. The only problem was the reality (substance)… Obama didn’t accomplish anything militarily, and he didn’t accomplish anything diplomatically. BUT he was able to give the appearance of accomplishment and that is all he (and the left) thought was needed.
Now, the argument could be made that Obama (and team) “thought” that they had actually accomplished the removal of chemical weapons from Syria, but I don’t think they are that stupid. For Obama’s “diplomacy” to work 1) The Russians had to do what they promised 2) The Syrians had to do what they promised and 3) The United Nations had to be competent in verification. See where I’m going with this? NOBODY is that stupid! Which gets back to the original premise… the goal was never substance (the removal of all chemical weapons) but rather the appearance (of that goal). And for the past several years, as far as the left was concerned… Mission Accomplished.
But NOW, substance has decided to bite us on the ass. Early in the Trump Presidency Bashar al-Assad has again decided to use chemical weapons (that he 100% “voluntarily and verifiably” doesn’t have) on civilians. Trump, faced with the facts (substance), must now make decisions on how to clean up a mess that appeared not to exist for many years now.
Obama’s choice to embrace appearance years ago recently cost a few dozen people in Syria their lives when the (substance) bill came due; no so much in the grand scheme of the cluster-#$@% that is the Middle East. As sad and enraging as this should be… the cost of this choice will pale by a factor of 1000s if/when the bill covering the substance of the Iran Nuclear deal ever comes due.
The wages of embracing deceit over truth is always disastrous and sometimes deadly. There are many such legacy messes left to posterity by Obama and his ilk. We will continue to pay the price, until and unless someone… anyone… applies a little substance.