I have the following comment today from a retired Russian officer.
"This is where it gets very interesting and dangerous. Russia has drawn its own redline. Putin and his Generals know for a fact that there was no chemical weapon of any kind used in Syria. They recently warned the world that this kind of staged event was in the offing. They know what they have and have not done on the ground and know the lies spilling from Washington, London and Paris are vicious calumny. They are not a punching bag and are not going to sit back and do nothing.
A lot will depend on the "structure" and the "weight" of a possible salvo and how respective militaries will communicate with each-other. It was indicated strongly by Pentagon that they are trying to do their utmost in avoiding hitting of Russian regulars in Syria. I am sure that if within the range of namely Russia's (not Syria's) AD assets any TLAM will be shot down–this is so to speak "not that big of a deal" scenario. Washington draft-dodgers, however, push for attack on specifically Russian assets, including Damascus and recently including Douma where alleged attack took place. The reason being bombing the place of staging of this false flag into oblivion and then saying that no we can not prove that attack didn't happen. Obviously, it is not the case anymore, since Douma in under control of SAA and Russian MPs.
Most people in Pentagon and, obviously, some in the so called IC understand consequences of attacking Russians directly–they know the score, they have calculated probabilities for a number of contingencies and none of them, obviously, looks good for CENTCOM assets in the area. But for the BORG there is no way back–and the reasons for that are way larger than Syria. We are talking about global realignment and major shift in power balance. This is not an easy thing to take to self-proclaimed "exceptional" people in Washington plus add here their utter lack of grasp of scales and proportions involved in a purely military aspect–it is difficult to those who never spent a day in uniform and whose military "expertise" is limited to few seminars on strategy and weapons and on, not always first class, work by Congressional Research Service. Thus, on American side we have today not rational players." Pen Name – Smoothiex12
In my opinion Smoothiex12 speaks truth. The Russians have decided that they will fight us if there is more than a symbolic punitive strike in Syria, a strike in retaliation for an event that even the US MSM now speaks of as "suspected," "alleged" and "reported." The US went to war against Spain over a suspected attack on the armored cruiser USS Maine. The ship was at anchor in Havana harbor. It exploded and sank and although the US Navy could not at the time determine the cause, the Hearst newspaper chain insisted that the Spanish government had destroyed the ship. The same newspapers had been propagandizing the American people for months with wild tales of the "monstrous" deeds of the Spaniards toward the Cuban revolutionaries who were trying to end Spanish rule of the island. This sensationalist grab for circulation triggered war with Spain. Many years later the US Navy determined that a smoldering fire in a coal bunker heated a metal wall and that this had detonated the magazine of the ship on the other side of that bulkhead. Today we have 24/7 TV news vying for ratings. Nothing else matters for them. They neither understand Syria, nor do they understand what the outcome would be of a US-Russian war that escalates from a regional response to use of nuclear weapons against the two homelands.
Mike Pompeo smugly told the US Senate yesterday that American air strikes had killed "a couple hundred" Russians recently. He obviously likes that idea. At the same time the Russian government has sent its key political, societal, and scientific cadres to deep underground shelters built during the Brezhnev era and Russian state media have told the citizenry to prepare itself for World War III.
As PT stated, it is unlikely that DJT's ego could accept the sinking of a US Navy ship or a demonstration of the ineffectiveness of some of our missiles. The temptation for him to raise the stakes in escalation would be overwhelming. Remember, the neocons would be whispering in his ear that if we push the Russians just a little more they will submit to "The Greatest President."
If an all out nuclear exchange occurred between the US and Russia both countries would be wrecked. Do we really want to risk that? pl