Last week's strikes by U.S. missiles against a Syrian air base have provoked a lot of commentary from various pundits inside the United States. Some are saying that the U.S. action represents "the Trump doctrine not to follow doctrine." Others are saying that the strikes are sending "a clear message" to Russia (and to the world).
I am quite a bit more cynical. It is well known that Russia played a very large role in getting Donald Trump installed as the President of the United States. It is also very well known that FBI investigations of the Russian role have uncovered a lot of dirt on Trump and his dealings with the Russians. This dirt has been gleefully reported by a large number of American journalists who are frankly disgusted by Mr. Trump. It is also well known that Russia has been caught in a very bad light lately, due to Vladimir Putin's repression of peaceful anti-corruption protests which took place over the last few weeks. The ties between Putin and Trump are a liability which could have provided an easy opening to removing Trump from office.
Mr. Trump has closed that opening a bit by his actions against Syria. Indeed, I believe this is the chief and sole reason for his order to attack Syria with cruise missiles. It seems a devilishly clever bit of political calculus, and it seems to have worked for the present - but it is quite risky. I am reminded of a quote from The Hunt For Red October: "The hard part about playing chicken is knowing when to flinch."
Make no mistake. In the present contest between the U.S., the Assad regime, and Russia, there are no good guys. None at all. The best way to look at what's going on right may be to compare these events to the Bible story set forth in Judges 9. I am thinking especially of the curse which Jotham pronounced against Abimelech and the men of Shechem. Maybe our present international crisis will end with a бабушка dropping a piece of an upper millstone on the head of a head of state. Кто знаете?