Syria: a new equilibrium in relations between Washington and Moscow

Arnaud de La Grange, Deputy Director of the editorial Board of le Figaro on international issues, answers readers ‘ questions after the shots of Donald trump in Syria. In his view, they indicate the desire for independence from Russia.

— Trump is definitely once again caught everyone off guard. The first point is that when he says he’s going to do something, then doing it. We have already seen this in the past. He decided to give to breathe freely Bashar al-Assad and to cooperate with Russia, but once Assad has not fulfilled its promises, he responded almost instinctive way. I think that applies everywhere the terrible images of the gassed children was deeply touched by it. He talked about it. This may seem naive, but I think he really was deeply shocked.

In addition, there is certainly a role for domestic politics. He has failed to undo Obama’s health. But then he can to go against Obama. And he was absolutely right. He said that we need a limited strike, and it did. After all, if too long to wait, it will not produce a similar effect. From this point of view, we saw a very clear and strong signal. I think the goal was achieved.

— What position should occupy France?

— At the moment France said that the strike was the right signal, because Paris has long condemned the atrocities of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Anyway, it all sounds smoother. Before the attacks, foreign Minister Eero said that we should not depend on the impulses of one man — rush or whether it is a prudent step that is debatable — however, France is in any case says that it is necessary to return to the UN and negotiate, that is, to avoid a military escalation. At the same time, it is possible that if will continue military operations if Damascus will organize a new provocation, France may participate in the extended strikes in Syria, not only against ISIS. Still a hard to say. In the evening at the Elysee Palace will be a meeting of the defense Council. Thus, France has been following the developments, but would like to avoid quick escalation.

— Should we be afraid of a new cold war?

— As you remember, after the election trump all shouted that he will appease Russia, that America is waiting for a new era of isolationism. Now he does the exact opposite. Surprisingly. The consequences can be very serious. It establishes a new balance of power. Putin is also primarily looks at the strength. Thus, there is brewing a certain struggle for the right to be the alpha male. Trump says: “I am the Sheriff and I need to be.” From this point of view, we definitely see significant phase. From Russia there was clear irritation, however, foreign Minister Lavrov expressed hope that the incident will not entail long-term negative consequences for relations between the two countries. That is, the rupture of the ties of the question, but something in the relations between Moscow and Washington has definitely changed and will change. They will change the balance, for what will certainly be very interesting to watch.