It seems that this is the “black Swan”, which always arrives unexpectedly. At this time, unexpectedly for the Kremlin and its diplomats. After a chemical attack of the city of Khan Shijun in Idlib, a Northern province of Syria, it became clear that Bashar Assad is not going to ask Moscow’s permission to use chemical warfare agents. Most of those, from whom he allegedly got rid of in 2013 under the supervision of Russia and the United States. It turns out all this time, the Syrian dictator lied and concealed part of its chemical Arsenal. That official Russia covers it with a believable, awkward explanation, only exacerbates the situation.
A blow to the reputation
Even if to imagine that the Syrian air force had indeed struck the warehouse of chemical weapons, which belongs to the opposition, as claimed by the representative of the Ministry of defense of Russia Igor Konashenkov, the question arises: what kind of madman would give orders to the bombing of the warehouse, because it would lead to monstrous consequences?
The Russian version of events, no one believed it. The world is convinced (and it showed in the debate in the UN Security Council) that people in Khan Sichone killed by the Assad regime. The consequences can be quite unexpected for the Kremlin.
Regardless of the considerations of morality, the political reputation of the Russian leadership and personally President Putin dealt a blow. If they knew about the presence of Assad’s chemical weapons, but said nothing, then can we trust the Kremlin as a serious partner in the Syrian settlement? If Assad lied to Moscow, storing illegal ammunition without her knowledge, then it turns out that he in a penny does not put its main ally, the Kremlin has no Damascus no effect.
A brief moment of joy
More importantly for the Kremlin, Donald trump said at a joint press conference in Washington with Jordan’s king Abdullah that “reconsider” its attitude to the Assad regime and the Syrian war. His representative in the UN Nikki Haley has threatened that America will act alone if the UN does not take strong measures against the Syrian regime. Hardly Hailey made this statement, not agreeing with the White house. Secretary Rex Tillerson, who is soon expected in Moscow, said that Russia and Iran it is time to reconsider the attitude to the Assad regime.
All these statements made just a few days after the same Tillerson, the press Secretary of the White house Sean Spicer said the public: the removal of Assad is not the goal of America. Those words sounded music to the ears of Russian leaders, who for six years fighting to save the Syrian regime. Joy in Moscow did not last long.
This is one of those times when you don’t know what’s worse — whether emotional American President imbued with grief and anger, looking at footage from Khan Chichona, or just used the incident as a pretext for a cunning diplomatic game. Anyway, Russia is in the position waiting. Because the trump in his trademark style declined to say what response the US will take. But we know that he (in my opinion, rightly) believes his predecessor Obama is a weakling who “lost” the middle East.
Any U.S. military action against Assad (for example, the destruction of the main military airfields) will be enthusiastically received by American allies in the middle East (Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan) and skeptical of the new administration staff of the state Department (who even wrote a collective letter to Obama asking to intervene in the Syrian conflict). It also at least for some time confound Democrats in Congress and the liberal media criticizing trump for disregard of human rights and other humanitarian issues of foreign policy.
Speaking of allies. Two great friends of Moscow and President Putin visited recently in Washington — Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and the already mentioned king Abdullah of Jordan. Under Obama and Kerry, they had nothing to do in the White house, where middle Eastern Affairs tried to stay away. This pushed them towards the Kremlin.
Today the picture is changing. Inspired by the tough anti-terrorism rhetoric trump, regional leaders are looking to the White house. America has always been indispensable in the middle East, and President of the trump seems to understand it.
Someone with whom to dance?
The U.S. return to the region if it takes place, will leave for Moscow two choices: either to adapt to the policy of Washington and to accept that she can not claim there to lead, or to enter into a confrontation with the United States, with unpredictable consequences.
For example, because the main ally of Moscow in the region of Tehran. The regime of the mullahs think in the US the main threat to the middle East, and that the Iranian issue can be decisive for determining the future relations of Russia and America.
But apparently I don’t care neither the Kremlin nor the Smolensk area. For some reason, the prevailing view was that mocking attacks on Western partners in the style of a Comedy Club is just what you need in the current climate. Commenting on the words of Rex Tillerson that tango with Russia you can dance, but with Lavrov that this is not going to do, the Russian foreign Minister “joke”: “I am also the mother forbade the boys to dance.” I think that the Secretary of state will appreciate the humor in dignity and make their own conclusions. Believe not those who expect in Moscow.