Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday April 8, 2017
Is Trump’s bromance with Putin history?
The bromance between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin may be over before it could really blossom.
Blame Syrian President Bashar Assad for coming between them.
The Kremlin, a close ally of the Syrian strongman, condemned the U.S. cruise missile attack on a Syrian airfield early Friday morning as an “act of aggression in violation of international law.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it suspended an agreement with the Pentagon to share communication about U.S. and Russian aircraft conducting separate missions over Syria to avoid mishaps.
Russian aircraft support Assad in his fight against rebels, which include the Islamic State, while a U.S.-led coalition is focused exclusively on defeating Islamic State militants.
Russia’s decision in 2015 to enter Syria’s civil war with airstrikes against Assad’s opponents strengthened the dictator’s grip on the country when it looked perilous.
Trump ordered the strike in retaliation for Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons in a rebel-held town Tuesday, but Russia defended Assad, saying the chemicals were released when Syrian planes struck a terrorist lab.
The U.S. strike widens the gulf between Trump and Putin over Assad’s future months after the Russian and American presidents seemed to be coming closer to an agreement to join forces to bring an end to Syria’s six-year-long civil war, defeat the Islamic State in Syria and let Assad stay in power.
After the chemical attack — which killed 86 people, including 27 children — Trump abruptly reversed course, calling for Assad’s ouster, as President Barack Obama had done. That is something Putin has been loath to do since the Syrian leader is one of his few allies in the Middle East. (Source: USA Today)