Yesterday morning, we woke to news that the USA had carried out a cruise missile strike on an airbase in Syria. Combover Crybaby Donald Trump had shown the world that he was much tougher than his predecessor, and that when red lines were crossed, he would order Real Proper Action. So 59 Tomahawk missiles were dispatched from a warship stationed in the Mediterranean Sea. There was much shock and awe.
Then came the predictable and outraged response of the Russians, chief sponsor of murderous Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad, the one who looks like a refugee from the Muppet Show but wants the world to know he’s just as nasty as his old man was (and his old man was a really nasty piece of work). The US action was “an act of aggression against a sovereign nation”. Next it would be war!
Yes, Moscow wanted the world to know that relations between the US and the gangster régime of Vladimir Vladimirovitch Putin had hit a new low. The attack had been an affront to them. The Trump gang, on the other hand, wanted the world to know that they would order another attack if they felt so inclined. And then something happened, or rather it didn’t: there was no Russian retaliation, and no follow-up US strike.
More revealingly, the Syrians were using the supposedly seriously damaged and degraded airbase later the same day. What did those 59 Tomahawk missiles do, just turn up and say “boo”? The Russians had had a presence in the area, but none of them were on hand when the missiles came in. Nor, it seems, were very many of the Syrians who were supposed to be running the place. What was going on?
Ah well. Australian broadcaster ABC has an interesting take on that. Under the headline “Eyewitness says Syrian military anticipated U.S. raid”, their report tells “Syrian military officials appeared to anticipate Thursday night's raid on Syria's Shayrat air base, evacuating personnel and moving equipment ahead of the strike, according to an eyewitness”. And how might they have “anticipated” it?
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “revealed late Thursday that the U.S. warned Russia that they would be bombing the airfield in Homs, Syria since there was Russian military in the vicinity”. And who might the Russians have tipped off? Moreover, “Former National Security Adviser and ABC News contributor Richard Clarke said this attack, one of the quickest displays of force by a new president in recent history, is largely ‘symbolic’”.
Do go on. “Clarke said ‘I think Secretary of Defense [General] James Mattis gave the president a list of options, this being the smallest. It was a targeted attack not designed to overwhelm the Syrian military ... I think the president was trying to differentiate himself from his predecessor’”. So little damage that the airbase was usable later the same day. A few well-rehearsed harsh Russian words. But lots of favourable media reaction.
Donald Trump has done nothing to dispel the growing body of evidence that he is compromised by his Russia ties. And soon the press and broadcasters will see through this sham. This was shock and awe for media consumption only.