President Trump's Dangerous Syria Wag The Dog Holds Many Pretexts

June 27, 2017

Last night the White House released a statement warning of an Assad plot to use chemical weapons, in a repeat of their actions just two months ago which led to President Trump ordering a missile strike, at Ivanka's encouragement. Let us be clear: Not only is the President apparently setting the stage for a false pretext wag-the-dog military action, he may also be attempting to play Syria and Russia against themselves. It is difficult to understate the danger of such a scenario. Using back door coordination with Russia to sabotage Russia's allies for the President's political gain could inspire Russia to escalate to overt military conflict.

Last night's statement was created on a moment's notice, at the President's order. Despite claiming that the claim is based on recent intelligence nobody seems to have any knowledge of such intelligence. All of the highest ranking staff seem to be just as perplexed and are currently trying to get the President to explain the reasoning that has led him to this conclusion. Spicer was so surprised that he asked the Priebus and Pence before releasing the statement, hoping to be able to stall long enough for someone to intervene and talk sense to the President.

Everyone knows President Trump is a reasonable person who always keeps a level head and listens to a rational argument.

The best rationale that seems to be emerging is vague information about equipment movements, which is lending itself to upcoming official explanations that will be reported on before the day's end. President Trump's reaction to learning about these equipment movements was to immediately, and almost eagerly, question whether this could be an indication of a chemical attack. After being informed that it's possible the President seems to have made the decision that the information on hand was adequate to treat the situation as such. The problem here is that, as best as we can tell, this possibility is more akin to the kind of hypothetical possibility that deep in the Amazonian rain forest is an undiscovered species of equid with a single horn protruding from its forehead.

While some are dismissing the President's claims about a hypothetically pending chemical weapons strike as the kind of eccentricity that is normal of this President (even if not normal in a broader sense), we are more inclined to believe that there is a sliver of truth to his dodgy presentations to be the only person who has the complete picture. While President Trump often enjoys underscoring that he alone is President, and generally relies on a severe compartmenting of information as a key part of his disjointed management style designed to emphasize is singular importance, our sense is that the President currently is operating on a mix of greater conviction than is normal for his standard theatrics. More importantly, there is a certain type of aloofness that POTUS only demonstrates when he is secretly scheming behind the backs of his top aides, and we're seeing that now.

In the past the President has often suggested that he will have some kind of secret ability to address conflicts like Syria and North Korea. He still seems to believe that he will bring Russia into the fold as an ally to the United States, and that doing so will be they key to solving these conflicts in our favor. This belief by the President would seem to be positively delusional, built upon his self aggrandizement more than anything. Nevertheless, he's persisting.

It's impossible to know for certain what kind of information has been secretly shared between the President and Russian connections, or to what degree continued political coordination may be taking place. However there is no doubt that some degree of coordination is still taking place. We have already seen Putin and his people publicly defending President Trump at key moments in the past several months. We know that President Trump's conversations with Putin and other Russian officials seem to have been laden with substantial subtext. We know that President Trump has been dismissive of recent Russian actions and statements that would appear to warn of possible military conflict, saying that he was taking care of it while doing nothing that involved any traceable diplomatic actions. We know that some degree of communication occurs and while we can't be sure that Russia has offered secret strategic information with President Trump, the President certainly behaves like he is receiving some secret information from Russia, in this case relating to circumstances in Syria.

This does not mean that Russia has informed POTUS that Syria is planning a chemical weapons attack. More likely, Putin's communication nexus to the President is probably trying to gauge the President's receptiveness to changing its position on Assad, and trying to bring about such a transition. This became mistranslated by President Trump who hangs on a hair trigger and is becoming more erratic under the stress of the rigors of his job, his inability to perform that job well, and his ego being increasing bruised. We suspect that Putin's agents have been trying to work President Trump into backing off of Assad, and President interpreted the feigned friendship and something specific said in those conversations as if it was a gift of information, then in conjunction with this recent information of Syrian activity that may or may not be related to a possible chemical weapons attack the President is now seeing a fortuitous opportunity.

The previous missile strike against Syria remains a fond memory of the President. The lavish praise he experienced after the strike was like feeding him a drug he loves to be addicted to. He occasionally laments that the moment was fleeting and seems like a long time gone. He longs for the chance to recreate that moment and was even overheard a few weeks ago telling Jared that he wished he could do it again. That Syria quickly began using the airfield again was taken as a personal insult because it meant that Syria was defying the President. Meanwhile, President Trump is both deceived by the Russians' feigned friendship and (ironically) believes that he can use and manipulate them to his advantage. And with his growing frustration at the increasing negative press attention and plummeting public support the President is desperate to change the subject of the public discussion while creating a call to action to demand that Congress and the People rally around him.

The danger of this situation is that Russia is not our friend, and Russia is not giving anything to President Trump as a gift. Everything they do is for their benefit and their objectives. The situation in Syria is a complex and tangled web of lesser-evil allies and proxy actions. It is burning matchstick balanced on top of a pile of powder kegs. And our President is ready to start swinging a baseball bat partially because his ego is injured by, and partially because he is foolish enough to believe he can play both sides of the fence. But mostly, he wants to distract the media and the public from the fact that he is under investigation.

If you're so innocent Mr. President, why are you ready to go to war just to provide cover so that you can abuse the power of your office to shut down the Special Counsel's investigation? What if his plan works?