Following yesterday’s Russian warning that Russia stood ready to shoot down US aircraft or missiles attacking Syria, the US has confirmed all plans for military action against Syria have been dropped.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed this speaking to reporters on Thursday 6th October 2016.
“The president has discussed in some details why military action against the Assad regime to try to address the situation in Aleppo is unlikely to accomplish the goals that many envisioned now in terms of reducing the violence there. It is much more likely to lead to a bunch of unintended consequences that are clearly not in our national interest.”
The US will never admit that it was the Russian warning that deterred it from carrying out air and missile strikes, and it is still pretending that the option of military strikes is still on the table. In Josh Earnest’s words
“I’m not going to take any options off the table. I am not going to be in a position [we’re] taking options off the table for the commander-in-chief.”
However these are face-saving words.
Military strikes against Syria would have happened long ago had it not been for the strong opposition of Russia. The fact the Russian military is now physically present in Syria with advanced surface to air missiles and is warning that it stands ready to shoot US aircraft down if the lives of Russian personnel are put in danger has taken the idea of US military strikes off the table.
I would add that these warnings would have been given by the Russians to the US in private before they were made public yesterday.
It is because the military option no longer exists that the US has been obliged to return to diplomacy.
I do not expect this to change whoever is elected President in November.