Corruption War and Peace

MSNBC Host: What If Vladimir Putin ‘Masterminded The Last Week In Syria?’

Ask yourself a question: With Donald Trump’s poll numbers fading fast as investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election continue, would Russian president Vladimir Putin be willing to concoct a situation in Syria so his American counterpart could look tough and change the subject from investigations to military strikes?

That’s the question Lawrence O’Donnell asked Friday evening on MSNBC, and it’s worth consideration. Perhaps, O’Donnell said, Putin arranged both the sarin gas attack and the retaliatory cruise missile strike on the Syrian air base:

“It’s perfect. Just perfect. I wish it wasn’t. If Vladimir Putin masterminded the last week in Syria, he has gotten everything he could have asked for. Vladimir Putin was essentially the man in charge of making sure that Syria got rid of all its chemical weapons under a deal with the Obama administration. And so it makes perfect sense to question whether president Bashar al-Assad would have checked with his most important patron, Vladimir Putin before using chemical weapons that Vladimir Putin was supposed to have helped get rid of.”

The conversation between Putin and Assad might have gone something like this, O’Donnell surmised:

“Unless Vladimir Putin said I have an idea. ‘Go ahead. Do a small chemical attack. Nothing like the big ones you have done in the past. Just big enough to attract media attention so that my friend in the White House will see it on TV.’ And then, Donald Trump can fire some missiles at Syria that’ll do no real damage. And then the American news media will change the subject from Russian influence in the Trump campaign, and the Trump transition, and the Trump White House.”

Granted, it may sound like a conspiracy theory some right-wing nutjob like Alex Jones might dream up, but you have to ask yourself some important questions:

  • Do Assad, Putin, and Trump all have an interest in seeing Trump strengthened at home and focus diverted from the Trump-Russia connection?
  • Could the chemical weapons attack this week in Syria have been perpetrated by someone other than Assad?
  • What country other than Russia has a bigger stake in assuring that Assad stays in power?

O’Donnell ended his thought-provoking commentary with this:

“Not one word that I have just said could possibly have been said about any president prior to Donald Trump. Don’t you miss those days when if there was a chemical attack in Syria you could be absolutely sure that president Assad and president Putin did not do that in order to help the image of the president of the United States. That is the world that Donald Trump has given us.”

This article was originally published by the same author at

By Andrew Bradford

Proud progressive journalist and political adviser living behind enemy lines in Red America.

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