US Missile Strikes in Syria Cross Russian ‘Red Lines’. How Will Putin Respond?

Putin has a cool mind and we may anticipate that the Russian response will come at a time of his choosing and in a manner that is appropriate to the seriousness of the U.S. offense

The missile attack in Syria is a game changer. The pressure on Putin to respond in kind is now enormous
The missile attack in Syria is a game changer. The pressure on Putin to respond in kind is now enormous

My days as apologist for Donald Trump’s backsliding on his electoral campaign promise of a new direction in foreign policy are over.

From being the solution, he has become an integral part of the problem. And with his bigger than life ego, petulance and stubbornness, Commander-in-Chief Trump is potentially a greater threat to world peace than the weak-willed Barack Obama whom he replaced.

Trump has ignored Russian calls for an investigation into the alleged chemical gas attack in Idlib province before issuing conclusions on culpability, as happened within hours of the event.

He has accepted a narrative that is very possibly a false flag produced by anti-government rebels in Syria, disseminated by the White Helmets and other phony NGO’s paid from Washington and London. He ordered the firing of 50 or more Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian Government air base in Homs province, thereby crossing all Russian “red lines” in Syria.

Until this point, the Kremlin has chosen not to react to all signs coming from Washington that Trump’s determination to change course on Russia and global hegemony was failing.  The wait-and-see posture antedated Trump’s accession to power when Putin overruled the dictates of protocol and did not respond to Obama’s final salvo, the seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the U.S. and the eviction of Russian diplomats.The Russians also looked the other way when the new administration continued the same Neocon rhetoric from the tribune of the UN Security Council and during the visits of Vice President Pence, Pentagon boss Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson to Europe.

However, the missile attack in Syria is a game changer.  The pressure on Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to respond in kind is now enormous.

Putin has a cool mind and we may anticipate that the Russian response will come at a time of his choosing and in a manner that is appropriate to the seriousness of the U.S. offense.  Look for this before the end of the month.

In the meantime, we who have been hoping for a change of direction, for the rooting out of the Neocons and Liberal hawks directing the Deep State should drop what we are doing, and help form a grass roots political statement that Donald Trump and the political establishment will hear loud and clear.   A mass letter-writing campaign to Congress and the White House?   A march on Washington?

One way or another, the White House must be told that arranging foreign policy moves out of purely domestic calculations, such as likely happened yesterday puts the nation’s very existence at risk.Acting tough, striking out at Russia and its allies, is not the way to form a coalition to pass a tax reform act.

The  same may be said of an alternative reading of the missile attack yesterday: that it was intended as a message to visiting Chinese President Xi that should there be no joint action to restrain North Korea, the United States will act alone and with total disregard for international law.

Either logic in the end is a formula for suicide.


Gilbert Doctorow is a Brussels-based political analyst. His latest book, Does Russia Have a Future?  was published in August 2015. Visit his personal blog here.

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