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Although Donald Trump has been an actor, now he is playing real. Like a cocky cowboy, he took his Twitter and threatened with retaliation in Syria. And his opponent was not Bashar Assad. A cowboy, who is not less daring, is sitting at the other end of the world and his name is Vladimir Putin. And he has nothing against shooting too. The world looks at the Doomsday clock tensely, and since the 1950s it like never before has been so close to nuclear war. Sounds frightful, right?
Threatening does not mean shooting. And if it comes to Donald Trump, then... Actually, an hour after the US president threaten to send missiles to Syria, he wrote another post in which he stated that there was no reason to wage a cold war with Russia, that Russia needs America and it is necessary to stop the arms race. And an hour later, Trump issued another passage – fake and corrupt investigation, headed by adherents of Democrats and people who worked for Obama should be blamed for bad relations with Russia. As he has no collusion with Putin, they both can go crazy.
Think again, please. The president of the most powerful country in the world first threatens Russia with a missile attack, and then actually apologizes and says – these are just Obama's tricks. Just three tweets. I can already imagine how the Kremlin burst into laughter.
The American media have repeatedly written that Trump is an impulsive person, prone to make hasty decisions on emotions. It is unclear how has Trump spent these three hours, but he made a 180-degree shift. It seems that Vladimir Vladimirovich called Trump and said something straight-talk in broken English. This is ridiculous, but the fact is that the leader of America, a landmark for all the world's democracies, exposes himself in social networks as a clown, a man who cannot make a decision himself.
It is likely that Trump’s rolling back to the tricks of the political establishment is the result of the enlightening work of his administration's employees, who, horrified by the first tweet, began to correct the situation. But much more interesting is appearance of the first message (the very one with threats).
The main ideological allies of Trump, who wants to reconcile with Russia, are radical conservatives; those who see Russia's claims to leadership in the post-Soviet space and to an active role in the Middle East as a threat to American domination. Not surprisingly, the current American administration has completely different views on foreign policy. For example, Bolton or Mattis, these guys would not readily make concessions to Russia, which is desired by Trump (some officials agree with him though). The military in the United States has always had a strong influence on foreign policy, and the posts of the defense minister and national security adviser have traditionally been referred to as a foreign policy quota. Surely, these days the military is inciting Trump to a harsh response to a chemical attack in Syria, and apparently, for a couple of hours, the president succumbed to their entreaties, having given birth to his famous tweet.
Even with the fact that Trump resists sharp steps, the likelihood of a skirmish between the US and Russia on the battlefield is much higher. Trump is pounded into a corner, and it becomes increasingly difficult to not respond. A year ago, when Trump was advised to act in a radical way, to hit the Tomahawks on a half-empty Syrian air base, it seemed an innocent prank, a PR for domestic consumption. Now the entire Western world is plagued - the poisoning of Skripal and the chemical attack in Douma consolidated the opponents of Russia. Everyone is looking at Washington - will it become a leader or a "traitor"? Russia also raises the rates. Last year it did not even uncover its S-400 missile system, now the Russians are threatening to shoot down American missiles. But the war has no guarantees.
I do not know if the Western special services have evidence of this chemical attack in Douma, but the world public has not seen them. The materials of the White Helmets are not a proof yet. And if the attack took place, it would be better to demonstrate evidence before the bombing. Instead, Israel bombs the military base in Homs, Trump is advised to threaten Russia with the "new" missiles.
At one time, George W. Bush began the war in Iraq on the basis of alleged data about the existence of the Saddam Hussein regime's weapons of mass destruction. The regime was overthrown, no weapons were found. Now Iraq is in a state of chaos. I do not want to believe that the attack in Douma was staged to convince Trump not to give Syria into the hands of Russia and Iran. We do not want to believe, but we cannot rule out such a possibility.
The military leadership is very conservative and does not like sharp turns in international politics. Trump's idea of making friends with Putin in military circles can only be perceived as America's defeat. Whatever one may say, the Cold War ended in a victory for the West, and even Barack Obama's attempts to make the world multi-polar did not convince either American conservatives or Eastern autocrats that it is possible to live in a different way.
If we analyze the interviews with the American generals, we will see that they are completely confident in the US military superiority over Russia and do not see an equal opponent in it. If we analyze Putin's interview, we will see that during the last years he has been talking about a rematch.
By raising rates (in fact, bringing the world to a new war), Putin believes that he can take a revenge soon. The American conservative establishment, although it does not want to start a direct war, is confident in the forces of the United States and has nothing against pinpoint operations. In the end, they might check what the Russian missile shield in Syria is capable of.
Middle East is a too important asset both for the US and for Russia. However, the situation has reached the bye corner; it could be resolved either through an American-Russian compromise (which is not even perceptible in the nearest future) or by military means (which is a direct way to a world war).
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 112.International and its owners.