It appears from the very limited US missile attack, most of which were intercepted and destroyed by Syrian air defenses, that the US military prevailed over the crazed John Bolton and carefully avoided a strike that would have resulted in a Russian response. No significant Syrian site appears to have been targeted, and no Russians were endangered. https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/04/in-depth-syria-stuns-world-thwarts-us-attack/
The US ambassador to Russia said that the US strikes were coordinated with Russia to avoid a great power confrontation. https://www.rt.com/news/424132-us-russia-syria-strikes/ Russia Insider concludes that the exercise was a face-saver for Trump https://russia-insider.com/en/out-whimper-trump-blinks-delivers-limited-strikes/ri23132
The main effect seems to be that Trump has further discredited himself and the US by violating the UN Charter and international law and committing an act of aggression, which is a war crime for which Nazi civilian and military officials were executed. Russia’s President Putin said that the wanton and illegal use of force by Washington has had “a devastating impact on the whole system of international relations” and called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. China also condemned the illegal US attack. https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/04/china-says-us-led-attacks-against-syria-are-illegal-and-against-international-law/
How was the feared conflict between the US and Russia avoided? From what I have been able to learn, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff would not accept the risk of conflict with Russia. The reason is not that the Joint Chiefs are more moral, more caring about the deaths and injuries that would result, or less inclined to go to war based on lies. Their objection was based on the lack of protection US Navy ships have from the new Russian weapons systems. An attack that brought a Russian response could sink the US flotilla and present the US with a humiliating defeat that would discredit American military prowess.
Bolton’s position was that Putin is a pussy who, as in every previous case, will do nothing. Bolton’s position is that the Russians are so scared of US military might that they will not respond to any US attack on their forces and Syrian forces. The Russians, Bolton says, will do what they always do. They will whine about the crime to the UN, and the Western media will ignore them as always.
The US Secretary of War, Mattis, represented the Joint Chiefs opinion. What, Mattis asked, if the Russians have had enough and do what they are capable of and sink the US flotilla? Is Trump prepared to accept a defeat engineered by his National Security Adviser? Is Trump prepared for a possible wider conflict?
The Joint Chiefs would rather use the orchestrated “Syrian crisis” to argue for more money, not to go to war that could be terminable of their retirement plans. The Joint Chiefs can tell Congress: “We couldn’t risk conflict with Russia over the use of chemical weapons in Syria because we were outgunned. We need more money.” The older American generation will rementer the fantasy “missile gap” of the Nixon/Kennedy presidential campaign that was used to boost US defense spending.
It would be a mistake for anyone to conclude that common sense has prevailed and the conflict has been resolved. What has prevailed is the Joint Chiefs’ fear of a defeat. The next crisis that Washington orchestrates will be on terms less favorable to Russian arms.
Bolton, the neoconservatives and the Israeli interest that they represent will go to work on Mattis and the dissenting generals. Leaks will appear in the presstitute media that are designed to discredit Mattis and to foment Trump’s distrust. The neoconservatives will advance military men more in line with the neoconservatives’ aggressiveness to positions on the Joint Chiefs.
Syria is not about any chemical weapons use. Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, reported that all chemical weapons had been removed from Syria. “Never before has an entire arsenal of a category of weapons of mass destruction been removed from a country experiencing a state of internal armed conflict, and this has been accomplished within very demanding and tight time frames.” https://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/06/24/last-of-syrias-chemical-weapons-removed.html
Syria is not about dictatorship or building democracy. It is not about the alleged 70 victims of chemical weapons. It would take a complete idiot to believe that Washington and its European vassals, who have killed, maimed, orphaned, and displaced millions of Muslims in seven countries over the last 17 years to be so upset over the deaths of 70 Muslims that they are willing to risk war with Russia.
Syria and Iran are an issue, because Syria and Iran supply the Lebanese millita, Hezbollah, with money and weapons. This support from Syria and Iran gives Hezbollah the capability of preventing Israel’s occupation and annexation of southern Lebanon, whose water resources Israel covets.
Twice the vaunted Israel Army has been chased out of Lebanon by Hezbollah. Israel’s military reputation cannot risk a third defeat by a mere militia, so Israel is using its control over US foreign policy and its rock solid alliance with the neoconservatives to use the US military to destabilize Syria and Iran as the US did to Iraq and Libya.
Additionally, there is the crazed neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony. The interests of Russia and China are in the way of US hegemony. Therefore, these two countries are defined as “threats.” Russia and China are not threats because they intend to attack the US, which neither has shown any indication of doing. They are threats because they are in opposition to US unilateralism which overrides their sovereignty. In other words, to be clear, the US cannot tolerate any country that has an independent foreign or economic policy.
That Russia and China have independent policies is the reason that they are “threats.”
It would be a mistake to conclude that diplomay has prevailed and common sense has returned to Washington. Nothing could be further from the truth. The issue is not resolved. War remains on the horizon.