President Trump authorized a calculated U.S. airstrike against Syria’s Assad regime on Thursday, a strike that reportedly crippled the very airbase from which the dictator launched a brutal chemical weapons attack earlier in the week. But while leaders from all over the world praised Trump’s decisiveness, Russian officials criticized the action and promised to help Assad rebuild his air force arsenal.
“The very presence of US troops and other countries on the territory of Syria, without the consent of the Government or the decision of the UN Security Council is a gross, obvious and unwarranted violation of international law,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement. “If before it was due to the task of combating terrorism, now there is a clear act of aggression against a sovereign Syria. US Actions taken today further destroy the Russian-American relations.”
Putin needs to rethink this position, and he needs to rethink it in a hurry. He had a golden opportunity here to make headway in the U.S.-Russian relationship, and he had an opportunity to show the world that even Moscow would not support a regime that practices this kind of brutality. Instead, he’s digging himself into a hole from which there is no escape.
Putin is in no position to challenge the U.S. militarily. It’s time to stop with the rhetoric. Trump wants to get along with Moscow, and he’s made every effort to turn the page. If Putin isn’t interested, fine. But if he thinks his statements will stop Trump from defending American values abroad…he might want to think again.