Iain Dale is Leading Britain's Conversation.
7 April 2017, 12:54
In his most recent LBC opinion piece, David Mellor explains Donald Trump has got a far bigger problem on his hands than Syria's President al-Assad.
It's a big weekend for Donald Trump, down there in Florida. First of all having to handle the problems of Syria, and secondly, a vital meeting with China's President Xi.
I'm not Trump's biggest fan, as will be well known by those who look at my blogs regularly, but I have to say, he's made a pretty good start to this weekend. Because he was plainly deeply moved by that chemical attack on those poor people, especially the children.
He said he was going to do something about it, he got on with it, and in a clinical strike, 59 tomahawk missiles hit the airfield, that he says was the one that launched the attack, and it all seems to have passed off pretty well.
Destruction of airfield, no destruction of civilian targets, and not too much antagonism to the Russians. I still worry about Trump's attitude to the the Russians.
He hasn't found it possible to condemn Putin himself, although his various representatives on earth have done so. But he will go into this meeting with President Xi, having established that he's a man of his word, that he's unpredictable, and that he has the capacity to be ruthless.
The Chinese, after all those years of Obama, will not be expecting that. Lets be quite clear about this. There are, of course, issues about Syria that need to be resolved.
How much more involvement, engagement with Syria is he going to have? But President Assad is nothing compared to the problems raised by the North Korean President, President Kim, who is an unstable megalomaniac, with much more capability to destroy the peace of the world, or certainly the peace and security of South East Asia, than Assad can do in the Middle East.
I thought Trump was reckless, in effectively throwing down a public call to President Xi, saying that if China wouldn't deal with North Korea, he Trump would.
Empty words, actually, because when the North Koreans have been digging all their vital equipment into mountains and underground for as long as they have, a strike of the kind that proved so effective in Syria last night, wouldn't work.
But I suspect President Xi, trying to be positive about this, President Xi will be wondering what manner of man Donald Trump is, and be asking himself 'do we really want to get totally on the wrong side of this guy, or is there a case for a compromise, and for working together to contain North Korea?'.
Because remember, when President Kim lobbed one of his missiles into the Sea of Japan at the beginning of last week, it wasn't just an insult to the Americans, it was also an insult to China. Well, we shall see.
Will Donald look as good on Monday morning, as he does now? Interesting. But one thing is certain, the old Chinese curse is very much alive and kicking in Donald's world, may you live in interesting times. But the thing is, the Chinese are going to be living in pretty interesting times as well. Watch this space.