Antiaircraft fire over Damascus as the United States launches an attack on Syria early Saturday. (Hassan Ammar/AP)
Opinion writer

There are consequences when the United States has no discernible policy. “As the Americans prepare to march out of Syria, Iran’s military footprint is spreading to include 10 military bases, more than 40 permanent military positions across the country and over 120,000 fighters, including Shi’ite militias and non-Syrians, according to the Daily Beast. Without an American presence in Syria to help contain the Assad regime and its Shi’ite allies, Israel may feel compelled to increase the level and lethality of its unilateral actions to protect its borders. Israel is not looking for war with Iran, but the same cannot be said with any level of confidence about Iran and Syria.”

A pinprick operation results in an unclear message. “Retired Army Gen. Jack Keane praised the Trump administration for taking action in Syria — but criticized Friday night’s airstrike on Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons program as ‘weak.’ ”

The outcome of the 2016 election gave us the only undemocratic president we’ve had. “Madeleine Albright, who served as secretary of State under former President Clinton: ‘I’m not calling [President Trump] a fascist. I’m saying that he is a president that has undemocratic instincts that trouble me a lot.’ ”

If you act only when chemical weapons are used, this is the predictable response: “Syrian armed forces on Sunday unleashed airstrikes against rebels and shelled what rescue workers said were civilian homes, as President Bashar al-Assad sought to demonstrate his regime’s continued strength a day after a U.S.-led missile attack.”

The upshot of announcing his retirement? Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) starts acting responsibly. Gowdy told Chris Wallace, “I don’t know what [Robert S.] Mueller was supposed to do other than what he did. When a prosecutor comes in contact with information or evidence of a crime, what are you supposed to do other than to refer it to the appropriate jurisdiction? Now, if Mueller had kept something unrelated for himself, I’d say fine, you can criticize him. But he came in contact with potential criminality. He referred it to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of jurisdiction and did so with the permission of Rod Rosenstein. I don’t know what he could do.”

In the aftermath of the Scooter Libby pardon: “The president’s many critics will contend that this has less to do with Libby than with special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump, we’re certain to hear, is taking a shot at the credibility of special counsels by emphasizing their tendency to indict people not for committing the underlying crime but for false testimony. Certainly the fact that [then-Deputy Attorney General James B.] Comey appointed [then-special counsel Patrick J.] Fitzgerald is not unrelated to the president’s intention to pardon Libby. Trump may be hinting at his ability to pardon people he feels are wrongly prosecuted by the Mueller investigation.”

One of the aftereffects of the raid on Michael Cohen: Trump is more unhinged than ever. “President Trump sharply attacked James B. Comey in a fusillade of tweets Sunday morning, suggesting that the former FBI director deserves to be imprisoned and serving up several of his favorite theories and unsubstantiated allegations of misdeeds.”