Writing in the Atlantic, Kori Schake, a noted national security expert, ably recited the fast-breaking conventional wisdom: "Trump has now shown himself just as willing as President Barack Obama was to make empty threats that damage American credibility." Indeed, according to Schake, Trump's offense is actually worse than Obama's.
Recall that back in 2012, Obama had let it be known that any use of chemical weapons by government forces in the Syrian civil war would constitute "a red line for us." Observers interpreted Obama's use of that term as tantamount to a pledge: Crossing that line would trigger immediate U.S. punishment. Yet when evidence subsequently suggested that Bashar Assad's forces had employed chemical weapons, Obama chose not to retaliate. Critics wasted no time in lambasting him for his reticence. American credibility had ostensibly sustained irreparable harm.