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Putin’s Chemical War

Howell Hurst Defining Trump

Putin owns the Syrian war. Assad without Russia’s massive military presence would be nowhere in this conflict. To an extent this is the same Putin who as a key KGB operative after World War II bolstered East Germany. Syria has been a fairly safe place for him to swagger on the world stage.

Although Putin has spoken in the past against Assad’s chemicals, without his stalwart military support the environment for Assad to use chemicals would not have existed. When the Soviet Union dissolved, Putin’s ideological foundation imploded. He’s been striving to replace it ever since. Syria is a power symbol for him.

Syria gives Putin his own game to prove his worth. He has aligned himself with big money KGB capitalists who picked up all the pieces when the Soviet Union crumbled. Through them, he’s been doing big business with everybody he can, including some people now holding leadership positions in the U.S. who seem capable, one must hope, of potentially evolving beyond profits into a new range of real American human values.

Although Obama was well meaning and reasonable in Syria, Putin is not a reasonable man. Putin respects power. Worships it. He’s literally been assassinating his own internal political enemies for years. Given, he has deftly learned how to sound like a statesman in his public relations releases. But he is a mean SOB.

Since the end of the two World Wars, the planet’s major civilized leaders have vainly hoped for some kind of lasting peace, while remaining crazy-glued to endless warfare. It has seemed to just be the way the world works. Irrational religious terrorist fanatics for their own reasons have used Syria to help bring things to a new level of unrest.

Mr. Trump’s military decision to forcibly enter into Putin’s war augurs a real line in the sand for Putin’s ambitions. Putin’s immediate response that the U.S. created a fake reason to attack Syria is utterly spurious. The reason was real. The response was precise and conducted with restraint.

One TV network’s retired Marine General commentator said Mr. Trump’s decision, although well-defined and appropriate, was an emotional one. My own personal emotions following the chemical attack would have let me live with our taking out the entire Syrian air force; Assad possesses his own unique level of ruthlessness.

Mr. Trump’s actual attack was like a carefully placed stiletto, piercing with a non-lethal thrust an enemy’s chest just under his heart. Who’d have thought such caution possible by The Mouth? Trump uncharacteristically avoided an over reaction. He has signaled the world’s most wildly adventurous leaders that their abhorrent gambles will not go uncontested.

It is conceivable that a newly energized coalition of countries may paradoxically have crystallized due to Mr. Trump’s military wager. Most major nations’ responses to his move have supported his decision to act assertively against Assad and Putin. Even Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton appear philosophically on board.

May there be extremely dangerous consequences to Mr. Trump’s attack?

Quite possibly. But the world is already in a dangerous position. It nervously fidgets while several unpredictable fanatics flail their nuclear egos and ideologies at the full moon. Iran still hugs up to terrorism, and North Korea’s weirdly hair-cutted Kim Jong-un is the arch nut, if ever there was one.

Irrational leaders do not heed rational appeals. Their vocabularies do not contain love and forgiveness. History has a way of going the way it wants to go. And the actions and counter actions of both civilized and loutish human beings, controlling immensely destructive forces, are not those of precisely programmed digital automatons.

Those of us who sit at home and play critic after each news bulletin are not in the hot seats. Yes, we must be critical of our leaders; At all times I support strong criticism, particularly of our military and politicians. Time always comes, though, when a country’s people have to align with its dangerous decisions, and hope and trust our leaders will indeed follow up with shrewd moves.

When Abraham Lincoln encountered situations he believed absolutely could not be permitted, he always said: “This plough won’t scour.” Well, I believe Mr. Trump just reacted to this chemical attack being a dirty plough that most of the world agrees cannot be scoured.

This time, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. I hope he can keep a cool head as things proceed.

I know one thing for sure. If I were Putin, Assad, Ali Khamenei, or Kim Jong-un, all thrown in together, I wouldn’t want Donald Trump, wielding all the military might he controls, as my opponent. Not in a month of Sundays.

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3 thoughts on “Putin’s Chemical War

  1. Excellent article. The only thing I disagree with is “Although Obama was well meaning and reasonable in Syria”. The only reason Assad is using chemical weapons is because Obama let him get away with it in 2013 when Obama drew the “Red Line” and then did nothing about it. I don’t believe that was being reasonable.

    If you keep letting a bully get away with his bad actions, why would you think he is going to stop?

    I think your last paragraph summed it up succinctly.

    1. I still think you over simplify. You didn’t and don’t like Obama. There are multiple reasons Assad may use chemical weapons. Obama may have contributed to it, but blaming him for it entirely does not compute.

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