The Cuban Missile Crisis is often considered to be the lowest ebb in US-Soviet/Russian relations. It is considered a classic example of brinkmanship.
But Donald Trump’s attack on Syria sinks relations lower than they were at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961.
In 1961, in spite of Missiles stationed on the territory of a Soviet ally off the coast of the US, no actual shots of any kind were fired, let alone the nuclear armed missiles.
Today though, missiles have been fired by America onto the territory of country that Russia is a de-facto ally of. Military hardware used in a war in which both Syrian and Russian forces are engaged, has been destroyed. Not only have shots been fired, unlike in the Cuban Missile Crisis, but unlike the war in Vietnam where the Soviet Union sent military advisers and hardware, in Syria, Russia forces are actively engaged in combat along side Syrian forces.
Far from trying to de-escalate the tensions, the Pentagon is more or less accusing Russia of participating in the still un-investigated chemical weapons incident. This comes after US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley said that Russia and Iran bear moral responsibility for the attack.
This is of course patently absurd as Russia has confirmed that their forces where not anywhere in Idlib Governorate on the day of the attack nor the days immediately prior. This absurdity is augmented by the fact that not only were Russia and Iran nowhere near the area in question, but all of the facts point to terrorist factions and not Syria having the stockpile of chemical weapons. Syria indeed does not have any chemical weapons and as recently as 2013, the US admitted this. All of the chemical weapons formerly in the possession of the Syrian government were fully removed by 2014, under the agreement overseen jointly by Russia and the US, originally made in September of 2013.
The attacks on Syria have been met with a firm response from Russia.
The normally soft-spoken and some would say closet liberal Russian Prime Minister Dimity Medvedev issued a deeply negative assessment of Donald Trump and the current state of US Russian relations,
“That’s it. The last remaining election fog has lifted. Instead of an overworked statement about a joint fight against the biggest enemy, ISIS (the Islamic State), the Trump administration proved that it will fiercely fight the legitimate Syrian government, in a tough contradiction with international law and without UN approval, in violation of its own procedures stipulating that the Congress must first be notified of any military operation unrelated to aggression against the US. On the verge of a military clash with Russia.
Nobody is overestimating the value of pre-election promises but there must be limits of decency.
Beyond that is absolute mistrust. Which is really sad for our now completely ruined relations. And which is good news for terrorists.
One more thing. This military action is a clear indication of the US President’s extreme dependency on the opinion of the Washington establishment, the one that the new president strongly criticised in his inauguration speech. Soon after his victory, I noted that everything would depend on how soon Trump’s election promises would be broken by the existing power machine. It took only two and a half months”.
The US declined to comment on the Russian Prime Minister’s remarks.
Russia is clearly not prepared to sacrifice Syria to terrorists for the sake of placating the newly hawkish US President. Likewise, with America’s bellicose rhetoric against Russia getting worse by the day, the world finds itself in a position where anything could happen.