Ignore the fact that Bashar al-Assad had nothing to gain and everything to lose by deploying chemical weapons in a war he is winning. Ignore the denials, pooh pooh Russian claims, fire the Tomahawks to escalate the situation -- perhaps gain a few points or stop the constant decline in pool ratings. And send Tillerson to Moscow, after consultation with NATO allies ... for this is so serious.
This week Dr. Theodore Postol, a Professor Emeritus at MIT and a renowned authority on weapons technology, took it upon himself to investigate the incident and found gaping holes in the White House report. It again looks like a put-up job by the rebels much like what happened four years ago. He finds the evidence faked; the men inspecting the site immediately after the incident protected so poorly, they would have died had sarin gas been around; the photo of the tube container showing a depression in the middle consistent with a small explosive above to push out the gas from the ends -- but not with a device dropped from a plane.
It made no difference. After all, the mainstream media still blames Assad for 2013 when the investigation's conclusions pointed to the rebels. So it was that Secretary of State Tillerson found himself in Moscow and a frosty reception. Putin kept him waiting ... and waiting, and Sergei Lavrov wagged a very undiplomatic finger at him with the warning that if they ever did this again, there would be serious consequences.Russia is the only country in the world capable of destroying the U.S. in twenty minutes, which raises the obvious question: what if another such cavalier performance by Trump injures or kills Russian personnel and the Russians retaliate sinking a destroyer, would the U.S. continue to escalate?
After keeping him dangling until just before his flight home, Putin agreed to meet with Tillerson . Then in a calculated snub, he refused to allow any pictures of the meeting. No doubt Mr. Tillerson received another stern lecture.
In contrast to Candidate Trump, President Trump is best buddies (according to him) with Chinese President Xi Jinping instead of holding him to account. And instead of allying with Russia against ISIS as he repeatedly averred, he now has a profound disagreement turning President Putin into an adversary. The establishment seems to have played Mr. Trump for the bad out-of-tune violin that he was. He's in concert now, and the Trump presidency, as he had envisioned, is dead.
Harper's is an old left-of-center American magazine priding itself on its prose. So it is unusual to discover in the March issue, British writer Tanya Gold calling the president 'a f******g idiot'. His other new adversary, Assad is clearly not but the world knows who is.
To confirm the view Trump dropped a $16 million, 21,600 pound bomb on ISIS in Afghanistan. As if it that will defeat the insurgency. A cumbersome device dropped from a transport plane at relatively low altitude making it vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire, it was the first time it had been used in the battlefield since its introduction in 2002. It also raises the specter of horrendous civilian casualties, and former Afghan president Hamid Karzai has already condemned its use.