Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to ‘Russiagate’ Enthusiasts – Whether They Like It or Not

Politicians, pundits and activists who’ve routinely denounced President Trump as a tool of Vladimir Putin can now mull over a major indicator of their cumulative impacts. The U.S.-led missile attack on Syria before dawn Saturday is the latest benchmark for gauging the effects of continually baiting Trump as a puppet of Russia’s president.

Heavyweights of U.S. media – whether outlets such as CNN and MSNBC or key newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post – spent most of the last week clamoring for Trump to order air strikes on Syria. Powerful news organizations have led the way in goading Trump to prove that he’s not a Putin lackey after all.

One of the clearest ways that Trump can offer such proof is to recklessly show he’s willing to risk a catastrophic military confrontation with Russia.

In recent months, the profusion of "war hawks, spies and liars" on national television has been part of a media atmosphere that barely acknowledges what’s at stake with games of chicken between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. Meanwhile, the dominant US news media imbue their reporting with a nationalistic sense of impunity.

On Saturday morning, the top headline on the New York Times website was "US Attacks Syria in Retaliatory Strike," while the subhead declared that "Western resolve" was at work. The story led off by reporting that Trump "sought to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack near Damascus last weekend that killed more than 40 people."

Try putting the shoe on the other foot for a moment. Imagine that Russia, with a similar rationale, fired missiles at US ally Saudi Arabia because the Kremlin "sought to punish King Salman for his country’s war crimes in Yemen" – with such reportage appearing under a headline that described the Russian attack as a "retaliatory strike."

The latest US air attack on Russia’s close ally Syria was as much politically aimed at Moscow as at Damascus. And afterwards, the televised adrenalin-pumped glee was as much an expression of pleasure about striking a blow at Putin as at Assad. After all, ever since Trump took office, the US media and political elites have been exerting enormous pressures on him to polarize with Russia.

But let’s be clear: The pressures have not only been generated by corporate media and the political establishment. Across the United States, a wide range of people including self-described liberals and progressives – as individuals and organizations – have enthusiastically participated in the baiting, cajoling and denouncing of Trump as a Putin tool. That participation has stoked bellicose rhetoric by congressional Democrats, fueling the overall pressure on Trump to escalate tensions with Russia.

What’s really at issue here is not the merits of the Russian government in 2018, any more than the issue was the merits of the Soviet government in 1967 – when President Lyndon Johnson hosted an extensive summit meeting in Glassboro, New Jersey, with Soviet Premier Alexi Kosygin, reducing the chances of nuclear war in the process.

If you keep heading toward a destination, you’re likely to get there. In 2018, by any realistic measure, the escalating conflicts between the United States and Russia – now ominously reaching new heights in Syria – are moving us closer to World War III. It’s time to fully recognize the real dangers and turn around.

Norman Solomon is the coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

12 thoughts on “Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to ‘Russiagate’ Enthusiasts – Whether They Like It or Not”

  1. Thanks, I’ve been warning of this for a while.

    There are certainly enough valid reasons to oppose Trump without jumping on the Russians are Coming nonsense.

  2. Come on dude…a little more than a week ago Trump announced that troops were coming out of Syria. So the media and detractors should just leave the feral imbecile and fabulist alone and let him do whatever the hell he wants? That’s the plan? Good grief. He first struck Syria a year ago in case you’ve forgotten…this is bull####. This is not unlike how some idiot conservatives are blaming the classmates of Cruz for setting him off.

    1. “He first struck Syria a year ago in case you’ve forgotten…”
      And in case YOU’VE forgotten, the media congratulated him and called him “presidential” after that attack. And it just happened to be when the “Russiagate” “investigation” was heating up. Own it.

  3. Another “they made me do it, trump as victim” piece of pablum. Save it for traffic court.

    1. WRONG. The article isn’t saying that Trump is any less responsible for what he did, only that the media and self-styled “liberals” and “progressives” have been goading Trump to do exactly the sort of thing that he did in Syria. They are therefore partly to blame. MSNBC has been clamoring for this, and has applauded Trump for bombing Syria.

      1. “Any less responsible ” for trump, and “partly to blame” for liberals and progressives ? Which is it ? Is trump say, 90% responsible, and libs and progressives, 10% ? 50/50 ? Let’s see, if 50/50, out of 100 missiles, trump ordered 50, and lib/progressives like me ordered 50, yet, I don’t recall anyone asking my opinion as to where they would land? Wish I were a Republican, apparently, they aren’t responsible for anything. Is “self-styled ” mean they do their own hair ?

  4. Trump hopped on the bomb Syria bandwagon when he, along with May and Macron, realized that it would be a great distraction from their domestic problems, and in Trump’s case, I don’t mean Russia-gate. That was always a cover story for the real investigation going on into his mob links, money laundering, and influence peddling that will ultimately bring him down.

    Democrats, Republicans, and our MSM are all pushing for war because of AIPAC, pure and simple. They’ll push any cock-and-bull story that comes their way if it means dumping Assad and destroying one more enemy of Israel.

  5. This has always been the point of Russiagate, not to impeach Trump, but to steer him towards his darker instincts in regards to Russia. Mission accomplished, assh*les.

    1. It’s all about triangulation, Comrade, playing one side off against the other. The neocons (Zionists) are masters of game theory.

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