Let's start with Vlad's thinking, because as we all know, Trump never gets out of Vlad's string pulling range. As I have mentioned before, Russia has a vital, possibly mortal interest in what happens in Syria. The whole Southern part of Russia is packed with potential Islamists, who have already participated in numerous bloody attacks (see Chechnya.) The last thing Putin needs is an Islamic state a mere 250 miles from his border. This could not only, in the worst case, precipitate the end of Russia altogether, but could easily draw a large part of Putin's army into another hopeless Afghan style conflict, only this time on his own territory, thus putting paid to Russia's geopolitical ambitions for decades. I am positive that this is Putin's main concern with Syria, yet of course American politicians and the mainstream press conveniently ignore this issue completely, in favor of their usual childish narrative in which the United States is the good guy, and somebody else is the bad guy.
So, where does this leave Putin? Well, right now, he is facing two immediate threats; first the collapse of his ability to fend the Islamists off in Syria, and second, the evidence of his purloining of Donald Trump's soul becoming so massive that even the sluggish, stupid American people can see what is going on.
Now we know perfectly well that Trump would not dare make a move in the Middle East without Putin's permission, and we know that actually removing Assad is at this point well into the no-go zone. So, what happens?
Well how about this? Putin gives Trump permission to bomb the hell out of a Syrian air base, which has been previously evacuated:
"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."
Assad suffers negligible damage, particularly when balanced against the assistance he is receiving from Putin, and Trump get an opportunity to crow about how tough he is, and very likely to derail the momentum for removing him from office, merely because he is a traitor. And that seems to be working very well. As a sample, here's Chris Matthews, a very influential character who makes a very good living lying slightly less than the people on Fox News:
"Chris Matthews Suggests Syrian Strike ‘Killed Narrative’ That Trump is ‘In Bed’ With Putin…I thought if there was a way for him to kill the narrative that he’s in bed with Putin, it would be this. Take on Putin’s fresh water port, take on his ally, his satellite, his loyal ally Assad. That would be a way of saying, “I never was in bed with these guys. I never planned any kind of coalition with this guy in Moscow.” You’re right, I was thinking of it. Who knows? We’ll find out. It certainly isn’t going to go well with Putin, unless we find out they had a phone call this afternoon and worked this thing out, and it was a set piece that was not meant to be particularly antagonistic to Moscow."
See? Trump is saved, Assad is saved, and everyone is happy! Well, except for the Islamists, who of course are never happy, and also anyone who cares about the truth. Not many of those left in this country of course, so big deal.
At this point, it might be helpful to remember what Trump used to say about tipping your hand before an attack. Here's Trump from a Presidential debate a few months ago:
"Donald Trump, a man who doesn’t know when to stop talking, wishes the US military would stop talking about its plans to help retake the ISIS-held city of Mosul.
During Wednesday's debate, Trump said Gens. George Patton and Douglas MacArthur would be "spinning in their grave" over the Pentagon’s public discussions of the ongoing push to reconquer Mosul, which began earlier this week. Trump has refused to answer any questions about his own strategy for fighting ISIS because he says he wants to maintain the element of surprise. On Wednesday, he said the US had tipped its hand too early, giving ISIS time to get key leaders out of the city and bolster its defenses."
We'll leave out of this discussion the fact, as I showed in a post from the time, Mosul is surrounded by a virtually flat, treeless desert, where it would be as possible to hide forces massing for an attack, as it would be to hide the Rose Parade on Colorado Boulevard on January 1st. All that we need note is that the guy will say anything at any time to get what he wants, like a three year old. But the mainsteam press is charging in, to protect him from his own behavior, so don't worry- his latest incompetent, belligerent, pointless tantrum will be successfully spun as a heroic act of Presidential strength, his current 34% approval rating will zoom all the way up to, oh, 37% or so, proving that the American people love him, and we will move on to his next act of depredation.