Although President Trump claimed that his Syria policy was not going to change, the sharp rhetoric from key members of his administration indicate otherwise. Presenting without evidence the usual refrain that Assad was planning a chemical weapons attack this week, the saber-rattling immediately kicked into high gear.
“Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people,” United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley said in a Tweet published on Monday.
“The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a prepared statement issued on Monday night. “The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.”
One man who is not buying this familiar story is Russian President Vladimir Putin, who stands by Syrian President Bashir al-Assad against ISIS and other terror groups trying to seize control of that country. Russia gave assurances yet again that they would stand with the Syrian government despite any belligerence from Washington D.C.
“I am not aware of any information about a threat that chemical weapons can be used… Certainly, we consider such threats to the legitimate leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic unacceptable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said to reporters.
Making matters worse, the saber-rattling from the White House came right as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were conducting important diplomatic talks to negotiate a ceasefire in the region. The Trump administration will need to work on its cohesion in order to avoid looking confused and discombobulated on the global stage in the future.