Doing the rounds on the internet today was this:
Despite Russia’s warning that a war with Syria would be ‘catastrophic’ and some speculation in the press, the prospect of the Kremlin directly retaliating against an American strike is pretty fanciful. Reports the BBC:
Such sabre-rattling may be exaggerated. Although Moscow has been a firm ally of President Assad, Russia is unlikely to be drawn into direct military confrontation with the West.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has already made it clear that his country has “no plans to go to war with anyone”.
Russia’s fierce opposition to a strike will certainly weigh on Obama’s mind in the coming days – the relationship between the two countries has become increasing sour in recent times (think Ed Snowden) and an attack on a close ally will be seen as a major affront to the Russians. But the truth is, Putin isn’t crazy. He knows full well his country isn’t capable of a direct military confrontation with America, and will choose other, more indirect ways of undermining the US in the Middle East.
For Assad, this is pretty bad news. He is becoming increasingly isolated with no one willing to come to his defense should a strike occur. Sadly for him, he’s just not that important.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.