The phrase “seek and avoid” often is used in context of people who gravitate toward those things they like and avoid those that they don’t.
But “seek and avoid” today seems to best describe President Donald Trump, as the seeker, and Russian president Vladimir Putin, as the avoider (which I know is not a real word).
Trump appears eager to deliver a military response to Syria, days after the deadly chemical weapons attack Syrian president Bashar al-Assad unleashed on his people. Trump hinted that a prompt American response was coming when he spoke to the media yesterday.
The top-level consultations about military options involve Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as military officers at the United States Central Command.
by the presence of Russian forces in the country and concerns about U.S. troops deployed in Syria in the campaign against the Islamic State, according to U.S. officials.
Nevertheless, it seems certain that President Trump will do something, and whatever it is will come soon.
All the while, the Kremlin is acting as if nothing serious happened a few days ago. Consider what Reuters reported earlier today.
A deadly poison gas attack in Syria this week led TV news bulletins across the West with images of the victims — children and adults struggling to breathe — front and center. In Russia, it was item 10 of 17 and the victims were not shown. …
Vremya, which inherited its name from the Soviet Union’s main evening news show, cut to a spokesman for the Russian defense ministry who said what had actually happened was that Syrian air force jets had bombed a “terrorist” bomb making factory that contained chemical weapons procured in Iraq, a version dismissed as impossible by Western countries.
Vremya’s report was almost bereft of ordinary Syrians.
Just 24 hours ago, I was disappointed that the Russian government had tossed aside whatever chance it had to gain international goodwill because of the bombing of a St. Peteresburg train station on Monday.
The Kremlin has now doubled down on Syria in a way that is likely to isolate itself even more. But more importantly is attempting to understand how President Putin will respond if President Trump does indeed order a military strike in the coming hours or days.