There is an opinion congealing on the left that because Trump warned the Russians about the impending missile strike, the whole thing was a scam to divert attention from Trump's Russia scandal. I cannot stress enough how dangerous this line of argument is.
First, let me say this, as soon as I heard that the missiles were up, my initial thought was, "Cable news is going to eat this up like candy." And they shamefully did. The next thing that went through my mind was, "Trump is doing this to prop up his failing regime." So I agree with the overall premise that this is all political kabuki theater.
But think about this very carefully: Would President Obama have also warned the Russians if he had launched such an attack? The only honest answer is, "Of course he would." Any other answer would mean that the President of the United States would be stupid enough to risk killing Russian troops, thus pushing us down the road to a nuclear confrontation. And while Trump might be that stupid, most of the people around him are not. Secretary of Defense Mattis certainly isn't and neither is National Security Advisor McMaster, both of whom would have had to have been bound and gagged to keep them from warning Russia if Trump had decided not to.
The dangerous part of insisting on this narrative is god help us all if it wins out in the common perception. This will not be the last time Trump makes things go boom boom, especially considering how much praise he's receiving from warmongering neo-cons and hawkish Democrats. It's already bad enough that Trump will respond like a plant starved for sunlight to all this praise and the sloppy blow job he got from cable news by doing it more often; what happens if he decides to cater to his critics by not warning Russia next time?
There are plenty of good reasons to call bullshit on this show of force: Why is Trump suddenly concerned about war crimes now? If Trump is really angry about dead children, why is he not letting Syrian refugees come here? The strike doesn't appear to have done significant damage. Was it botched or was it never the intent to destroy, or even cripple, the airfield? Etc. Etc.
But using the absolute necessity of warning the Russians to attack Trump is foolish. It's like telling your drunk uncle that if he was a real man, he'd take the safety off on his gun while playing with it at the family reunion; there's no way that has a happy ending.