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A Deliricum of Wisdom
The Road to Damascus
Irrespective of the true motivations of Mr. Trump and of any initial plan he had, the Syria situation, unsurprisingly perhaps, seems to have acquired a life of its own becoming a test for all players involved in the conflict, and not simply in regard to their intentions. It’s their actual resolve and abilities that are now being publicly tested. How else could it really be when on the road to Damascus?
Missing from the current narration on the Assad’s recent chemical attack is this: an analysis of Assad’s motives. Roy Gutman does a great job covering this: Assad Used Nerve Gas Because He’s Desperate. Expect Worse to Come. …the regime’s gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun was clearly “revenge against civilians” for the rebel advances. “The regime was simply trying to press the rebels to stop their military advance in north Hama… They think the rebels’ morale will be destroyed by the attack on Khan Sheikhoun and other places. But we have simply become more determined and we will continue our battles.”
Still, if Russia is indeed 'furious' with Assad over gas attack, it’s expressing its fury “Privately.” Publicly, the Russians are covering up their partner-in-crime's war crime.
White House Accuses Russia of Cover-Up in Syria Chemical Attack. In a declassified four-page report that details United States intelligence on the chemical weapons attack, the White House asserted that the Syrian and Russian governments have sought to confuse the world community about the assault through disinformation and “false narratives.”
And doubling down: by using incendiary bombs: Shocking footage shows warplanes dropping incendiary bombs on Syrian rebel towns just days after Assad's deadly sarin gas attack.
But, why is Putin doubling down on Assad? Leon Aron explains: The road to Damascus runs through Moscow. “Having staked enormous political capital on the recovery of at least some of the main geopolitical assets lost in the Soviet Union’s demise, Putin will defend Assad until the domestic political costs become too high to bear… When, despite the wide chasm between US and Russian objectives, Secretary of State John Kerry continued beating his head against the wall by insisting on “cooperation,” I suggested that the US should arm itself with a very long spoon before sitting down to sup with Russia in Syria – and must learn to use it. The spoon is much longer today.” In other words, Mr. Trump, and though your hands might be small, your spoon better be long.
So, gone are talks about proportionality: Spicer says U.S. strike on Syria was ‘justified and proportional’.
Indeed, and as Haley escalates rhetoric on Russia over Syria. “In no way do we see peace in that area with Russia covering up for Assad. In no way do we see peace in that area with Assad as the head of the Syrian government. And we have to make sure that we're pushing that process.” And speaks of regime change Haley: Regime change in Syria 'we think is going to happen'.
And Tillerson joins the fray: Tillerson issues ultimatum to Russia after meeting with top diplomats at G7 summit. "It is clear to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end," he said. "But the question of how that ends and the transition itself could be very important in our view to the durability, the stability inside of a unified Syria."
|Vladimir Putin, AKA Pouty Putin, is currently said to be reassessing his “aesthetic outlook” on the Syrian conflict a well as his wardrobe.|
Putin ups the ante by accusing rebels of orchestrating the chemical attacks as “provocation,” and of planning to do more in Damascus: Putin says U.S. preparing more strikes on Syria. Speaking at a press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Tuesday, Putin told reporters Russia has information that Syrian militants are planning “provocations” using chemical weapons that would be blamed on the government of President Bashar Assad and used as a pretext for further U.S. strikes.
Still, not all commentators expect the Trump and Putin to have a major fallout over Assad: Russia Is Angry, but Don't Expect Putin to Fall Out With Trump Over Syria. “Economically, politically, Russia does not have the strength to mount an escalation of this conflict,” says Konovalov. The Russian intervention has already dragged on for more than a year and a half, and Putin cannot afford to keep pouring the blood of his soldiers and the scarce resources of his economy into this war indefinitely. Nor can he afford to look weak by cutting his loses in Syria and letting the U.S. oust Assad. “The idea of retreat is not part of our President’s constitution,” says Konovalov. “So he will have to demonstrate toughness and decisiveness.” That will not be easy when Tillerson arrives in Moscow on Tuesday. Though he and Putin are well acquainted – having negotiated numerous oil deals while Tillerson was at the helm of ExxonMobil — the Russian President’s hand will not be as strong as he might like. For one thing, the fate of his ally in Syria will no longer seem so secure. Neither will Putin’s position as a dominant player in the Middle East.
So, where from here? So Trump Attacked Assad. What Now? Bringing peace to Syria will undoubtedly necessitate a further strengthening of the U.S. posture toward the Syrian situation and toward Russia, Iran and other involved states. More military strikes and other assertive acts of diplomacy will be inevitable but if anything is now clear, it is that the U.S. has more freedom of action in Syria than the Obama administration was ever willing to admit.
Will there be more strikes? Why Trump’s strikes on Syria are a good thing – and hardly enough. Trump’s attacks ultimately look too much like a drop in the bucket: Not enough. Not even the minimum. After all, the world would be a better place without Bashar al-Assad.
Or is this a one-off thing meant to distract from Trump’s growing problems at home. Is Trump Wagging the Dog in Syria? It is hard to avoid wondering whether the purpose of the strikes was less to defend a red line that Trump had never supported than yet another effort by the president to distract the media’s attention and change the subject from his problems at home.
Who’s testing whom now? Is Russia Testing Trump? While Mr. Putin must realize the Trump administration is unlikely to be able to roll back Western sanctions on Russia, as Mr. Putin originally hoped, he may think Mr. Trump’s still unexplained infatuation with him will allow him to move aggressively, without American resistance.
Or, Trump testing Putin? Russia needs American help to seal the deal in Syria. Before Mr Trump put his finger on the scales, it had looked as if Mr Putin was facing a diplomatic stalemate, and that he was becoming a hostage to Mr Assad. This may now change.
Or is Syria testing us all? Trump’s Syria Conundrum. It’s Mr. Trump who now occupies the White House, and it’s his responsibility to work with his cabinet members to formulate a more robust policy that can help end the suffering of the Syrian people.
We may not have to wait long for the answers.
Meanwhile, there will be consternations among some in the Trump Camp. Trump’s Troll Army Isn’t Ready for War in Syria. While foreign wars tend to boost presidents’ popularity in the short term, Trump risks losing the segments of his base that flocked to his isolationist, “America First” message.
And some self-congratulations, to go along with the heartbreak ad outrage: Eric Trump Says Syria Strike Was Swayed By ‘Heartbroken and Outraged’ Ivanka. "If there was anything that [the strike on] Syria did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie."
While others look beyond the current moment: How Trump can help cripple the Iranian regime. The United States actually has the high ground against the mullahs. Our resources dwarf theirs. Our self-doubt is nothing compared with the insecurity that Khamenei has to suppress with the Revolutionary Guards. It is way past time for Washington to stoke the volcano under Tehran and to challenge the regime on the limes of its Shiite empire.
ЯeveЯsed Polarity (ЯP)
Sean Spicer Gobsmacks Press, Saying Hitler “Did Not Use Gas On His Own People”. Well, in that sense, neither did Assad, after all, he’s an Alawite while the victims of his chemical attacks are Sunnis. But Hitler’s victims were Germans and Assad’s victims are Syrians and targeting civilians is wrong, so why are making these stupid comparisons?
Whowhomism: A modern-day sex game inspired by Lenin’s famous kto-kogo and current political developments from around the world. The players, whose numbers can range from 2 to 12, are asked to draw cards from a bag representing world leaders, for example, such as Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Bashar Al-Assad, then, after a short political debate between the players, the audience gets to vote on who’s actually “doing” whom at this stage. The players will then have to act out the results of the vote, and can be as inventive as they want. The winner is the one voted best at the give-and-take of it all, so to speak.