When the United States attacked Syria early Saturday morning, the chief threat of retaliation wasn’t from the Syrians. Instead, the primary worry seemed to be what Russia would do about it.
Not long after the attack, Russia’s ambassador to the United States ratcheted up those fears with a chilling threat to the United States.
In a statement released via social media, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov threatened that there would be “consequences” for the attack, which hit three targets associated with chemical weapons in Bashar al-Assad’s Syria.
“The worst apprehensions have come true,” Antonov wrote. “Our warnings have been left unheard.”
Statement by the Ambassador Antonov on the strikes on #Syria:
A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.
All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris. pic.twitter.com/QEmWEffUzx
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) April 14, 2018
Antonov claimed that “(a) pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.
“All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris,” Antonov added.
Antonov then tried to shift the blame for the attack.
“The US — the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons — has no moral right to blame other countries,” the statement read.
There are a few interesting points here, combined with an overarching point about Trump and Russia.
Let’s examine the statement. First, there’s the implication that this was some sort of “false flag” attack. While this may fly with some of the more conspiracy-minded among our numbers, in the face of the evidence, there aren’t a whole lot of people who are going to buy it. Nor is it likely that Antonov’s claims that the United States and its allies should have listened to Moscow will find many supporters in and around Washington, London, Paris or the countries those capitals act as synecdoches for.
There is also the interesting attempt to shift blame. Yes, the United States has chemical weapons. It doesn’t use them against its own citizens in any appreciable way. The same cannot be said of the Syrian regime.
The most interesting point, however, is when Antonov noted that “we are being threatened” and that “(w)e warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.” Which raises the question, who is this “we?”
The targets, after all, were facilities associated with Assad’s regime and their chemical weapons program. In fact, Joint Chiefs of Staff head Gen. Joseph Dunford said that the Pentagon used a deconfliction communication line and specifically warned Russian forces to stay out of the aerospace around the attack.
If Antonov is using “we” so much, it’s clear that Russia has thrown its lot in with Assad and his regime. Given that no Russian targets were hit or threatened and the United States has made it pretty clear they’d prefer to avoid conflict with Moscow, this is the only reasonable explanation — that Vladimir Putin has taken up the cause of a murderous brute. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, of course, but what should be surprising is how openly Antonov thinks he can say it.
Of course, this makes an overarching point about Trump and the accusations that have been leveled at him. We’ve been told over and over again by both the Democrats and the media that Trump is Putin’s pawn, that the Russians worked to throw the election Trump’s way in exchange for an American policy that would be amenable to the Kremlin.
If that was ever the case — and no real evidence to prove collusion or conspiracy has been presented thus far — you can bet that Vladimir Putin and his coterie of oligarchs is having history’s worst case of buyer’s remorse. After all, under the Obama administration, Russia’s proxies in Damascus and Tehran pretty much got to do whatever they pleased without any sort of retaliation that went beyond wagging a finger.
Now, Assad’s regime has been attacked twice after breaking every international norm by gassing his own people and the ayatollahs are facing significantly greater resistance over their compliance to the Iran nuclear deal than they ever faced under the Obama administration. Yet, the Democrats complain that we’re risking a confrontation with Moscow at the same time they paint Trump as a president bought and paid for by the Kremlin. That argument gets weaker by the day, particularly as they continue to enable the savage Assad regime.
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