As I'm sure you've noticed, we seem to be on the verge of doing something in Syria, again. Trump is tweeting that we're going to launch missiles, Putin is saying his forces will destroy them and then destroy whatever platform launched them. Meanwhile state television in Russia last night told people to have preps on hand for a few days in case there's a nuclear war, and know where to find the nearest fallout shelter
Which brings us to Russian state TV. Last night on the nightly news broadcast, the coming conflict with the USA was the big news and officials in Russia repeatedly said “If the United States attacks Syria based on this phony chemical weapons fraud, then Russia will shoot down the incoming US missiles and fire upon the platforms which launched them – including Ships, planes and ground based locations. This action by Russia would likely cause a war between the US and Russia and . . . . . Russian state TV gave citizens advise on what they should take to Bomb Shelters.This was complete with a reporter standing in front of a wall of monitors showing a mushroom cloud.
Full video - in Russian with subtitles) Is this crazy brinksmanship rhetoric like we get from North Korea all the time? I don't know.
The guy I trust for insightful thoughts on this sort of topic is LL over at Virtual Mirage. He addressed the situation and thinks that it smells funny. In response to a couple of comments, he said:
The LAST gas attack was likely an accidental release from rebel stores after an attack from Syrian Air Forces.I don't honestly know what to make of this. Is this a real threat of nuclear war (the closest we've come - perhaps - since the Cuban Missile Crisis), or is this some sort of belligerent posturing that Putin and Trump are going through? In the last Tomahawk attack on an empty air base, we notified the Russians what was coming so they could evacuate their forces. It's my understanding that was the normal way things worked in the first cold war: back channels talked to back channels so no big, ugly mistakes happened. Is that happening again? It apparently didn't happen in early February when Russian mercenaries attacked US forces in Syria, and lost 300 men (Peter had a really good summary here).
This time, I really don't know.
There was NO reason for the Syrians to launch a gas attack. It makes me very skeptical.
Obviously, I don't have any access to the real intelligence on this, so it's pointless to comment on that.
I'm old enough to remember duck and cover drills in elementary school, getting under our desks, and "put your hands behind your neck". All of the talk of a "new cold war" has pretty much rolled off my back as "oh, that again". I guess we'll find out in the next few days.