Media pundits and the McCain-Lindsey Team are crowing with delight about how President Trump “emboldened” Syrian President Bashar Assad to again deploy chemical weapons against civilians, when POTUS raised the trial balloon of leaving Syria. However, they are missing the real point.
Mr. Trump did not embolden Mr. Putin and Mr. Assad. Mr. Putin desperately needs Mr. Trump in Syria. He needs a war. He needs an enemy. He wants the American military to stay. That is why chemical weapons were again used to kill children. It was a sure-fire way to keep the Syrian conflict going, to goad the U.S. military and NATO to attack, in order to keep the Russian population’s focus off their terrible economic problems, to hate Americans, not the oligarchs stealing from the people.
A war in the Middle East also has another added benefit for the Kremlin. Oil prices are skyrocketing. This is good for Russia. This is good for the oligarchs. This is good for Mr. Putin. This is good for the millions of Muscovites who will benefit from increased cash flow from petroleum sales. This means jobs and higher incomes, which have been in short supply over the last few years.
Who cares if there is a war if the people who keep Mr. Putin in power get a lot more money from oil sales? The devaluing Russian ruble due to the crisis is also helpful. Mr. Putin sells oil in dollars, and a weakened ruble means a lot more money on the USD-RUB exchange to fill federal coffers. This means more social spending to keep the public happy and more military spending as well.
Mr. Putin has skillfully used the state media propaganda machine to gin up hatred of the West, who is once more attacking Mother Russia as they have done through the millennia. At least, that is how the preferred Kremlin narrative goes.
I am hearing today that the Russian general staff is declaring they will strike the source of any missile attack on Syria, whether they hit Russians or not.
Yes, it looks like we will have a war. It seems the leadership on both sides want it. Throughout human history, when two societal models become incompatible, war is inevitable.
Only the flyover people on both continents will suffer.
Originally posted at The Washington Times