Measured at this point in his term, 100 days in, Trump is the least liked president since modern polling began. Right from the start, his failing administration has been thrashed by the media, and for good reason. For Trump, who's as thin-skinned and self-absorbed as they come, this is intolerable. He's got to change the narrative.
It turns out that's not hard to do: just bomb a country. Then suddenly the TV talking heads, who Trump watches all day, magically switch from thrashing to fawning.
For Trump, this adulation is a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart, and there's little chance he's not coming back for more.
Iraq, Syria, Wherever
Precisely which country he bombs doesn't seem all that important to Trump, who'd likely have trouble finding any of his targets on a map.
In a recent interview with Fox, Trump said he'd attacked Iraq. Actually it was Syria, the anchor corrected. No matter. (Trump was clearer on the dessert he was eating as he launched the attack: "the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you've ever seen.")
Now North Korea is in Trump's crosshairs. It's led by "this gentleman," Trump repeated, apparently at a loss for his name.
Readers and Ratings
Whichever country Trump targets next, he's likely to receive praise from the media.
That was the case with Trump's launching of 59 missiles into Syria in response to the country's April 4 chemical attack. Trump's action was hailed by the media, which, like Trump, pinned blame for the chemical attack on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad despite serious questions and the absence of a thorough investigation.
A week later, Trump was basking in more praise, this time for dropping the "Mother of All Bombs" on Afghanistan.
"The more dangerous America's crackpot President becomes, the saner the world believes him to be," wrote The Independent's veteran Middle East reporter Robert Fisk. "[T]he moment he went to war in Yemen, fired missiles at Syria and bombed Afghanistan, even the US media Trump had so ferociously condemned began to treat him with respect."
"The next time you read a story about North Korea or see something about the country on TV, simply ask yourself what changed?" wrote Gizmodo editor Matt Novak. "Did North Korea become a tangible threat to the safety and security of the United States in just a few short months? Or are you being sold on the idea of a war?"