This is what (I think) was really behind Trump’s decision to bomb Syria.
1) Putin wants a functional president in the White House. He does not want anyone to investigate what he’s already done to get him there. He definitely does not want trump impeached because for him that would be a waste. So, the real question is: how does Putin keep trump available as a really effective mole?
2) For trump to get anything done he’ll first need a popularity ratings boost. Then he’ll need some really subtle ego-stroking. Trump also needs to divert any and all attention from ANYTHING that could even possibly result in proof of a Putin-trump collusion. Putin at first left it to trump. The buffoon enlists “Devin Nunes” who promptly bungles it. Putin gets nervous and knows that he has to take over.
3) Putin is a known supporter of Assad. More like a puppeteer than an athletic supporter. So let’s use him.
4) Putin sits down Assad and explains: Your position is safe as long as I’m happy. Most important that you keep me happy. You’ve used nerve gas and chemical weapons before and the US did nothing. Even if they did something, my people are right there and effectively will shield my armaments and radar/intercepts (that I lent you). So you lose a few planes and hangars. I can replace the planes, and hangars belong in the closet anyway. I don’t know why you leave them around and so accessible. Furthermore, your barrel bombs are so much cheaper and more effective that you really don’t need the planes anyway. Remember your prime objective is to keep me happy or you’re toast.
5) So, here’s the plan. Execute a small scale escalation. Start about a week before trump meets with President Xi. Begin with some chlorine gas (not mustard, the resulting pictures would be bad publicity, not good). Then a small scale sarin or VX attack out in the desert somewhere. Make sure it’s remote and best to involve some large scale rebel facilities that can be used for disinformation purposes. Make sure there are women and children and especially babies! You hear me: BABIES. Do it from a remote disposable base. And you must time it go off just before (1-2 days) trump-Xi are meeting. Then sit back and relax, and make no public statements other than to blame the rebels and condemn any US reactions.
Putin smiles. He can feel the old KGB vibes beginning to vibrate again.
6) Putin on secure line with trump: OK it’s all set up. Get your statement ready, make it short and read it. Nothing spontaneous. A few tears maybe, it would be like icing the vodka, but no sobs. Your people should be able to handle that. Suggest Bannon or his buddy Stephen Miller, but keep Kushner out of it, there’s too much heat from his meeting with my money launderer. Anyway, we want to use him later. Remember to curse me out! I’ll understand. But not too personal, OK! No Twitter-shit on this one, make it official with an entire room of reporters, TV would be best. I’ll do the same to you so that no-one, not even the Halo Bitch, will think you and I are buddies.
7) Continuing on the line: Timing is everything. I know you only deal with location-location-location but on this one follow my instructions. Remember to check the time zones. Things like this go best after everyone goes home from work, and has had dinner. Too bad we missed the first pitch on opening day but we can’t win them all. Remember to give my military guys some timely warning. An hour should be enough and do it officially and get it published so everyone thinks you’re playing fair and not trying to provoke a war. My guys will already have been briefed on what’s going to happen, just not when. Make sure your guys don’t hit the runway (make up some excuse for that, like crater bombs would need pilots and we don’t want any US personnel killed or worse, captured). My planes need the runways and I don’t have enough rubles to rebuild them right now. And damn it you better remember the time differences. It would be a nice touch if you had to interrupt an important meeting with Xi, so feel free to keep him waiting. I’ll add one sweetener. My Swedish guys have lined up an SUV civilian run-down. You could rework your Swedish terrorist attack tweet into real prescience, wouldn’t that make you look godlike?
8) Just think what all of the above accomplishes:
a) Trump gets a rating boost, that’s all he wants anyway.
b) Trump gets to be seen as anti-Putin: strong on principles, decisive, (i.e. everything that he is not).
c) The Gorsuch appointment gets done and all the hoop-la about changing the rules becomes irrelevant.
d) Everyone will think trump is no friend of Putin – demonstrated both by words and action. So why all the election fuss? Stop the investigations, they’re not needed anymore.
e) Nunes’ and Kushner’s transgressions get sidelined.
f) Bannon vs Kushner is all but forgotten.
g) Who cares about a wall when we’re at war.
h) Raytheon stock soars, taking the aerospace group with it.
i) Even a catastrophic Jobs Report won’t be noticed.
j) And healthcare! How can we talk about our healthcare (the best in the world) when poor defenseless babies are gasping for breath and dying?
k) Even the middle class jerks who voted for trump won’t mind foregoing a little tax cut so that we can protect those, sob, sob, poor suffering babies.
l) And to top it off, Putin gets a more functional mole.