The conclusion of Norman Angells 1909 book "The Great Illusion" was that since Western economies were so intertwined in trade, that war between major western powers was futile, in that the disruption of trade would be so ruinous that war could not lead to sustained economic advantage. Angells conclusion is frequently unfairly misquoted as stating that "war between European powers is impossible" – which World War I emphatically proved was mere wishful thinking. I wonder if the ghost of Angells' acolytes are walking the corridors of Washington at telling President Trump and lawmakers that a confrontation with Russia over Syria is impossible. I disagree with the wormtongues, this could end in general war.
Firstly, the uncritical, willing, acceptance by western governments of the truth of what was obviously a false flag gas attack suggests to me that the Borg is serious this time. Americas allies know it. No equivocation is going to go unpunished. I saw this attitude once before in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. We knew about two months in advance that the game was afoot, long before President Bush publicly announced his decision to invade. Then there is President Trumps ominous suggestion that he isn't finished with Syria yet.
I think President Trump is under pressure to "maintain the momentum" for a resolution of the Syrian civil war that he is being told his airstrike last week created. I believe, without evidence, that this will be followed next week by the announcement of "a safe zone" in Idlib province that is going to be guaranteed almost immediately by the presence of a force of coalition troops and accompanied by a "no fly zone". I suspect this has already been decided. Turkey would have to be involved if only from a logistics perspective.
I do not believe Assad or Putin is going to accept what in effect is going to be a permanent partition of Syria. The fallout from such an event would be the weakening of the Syrian Governments ability to resist Israeli incursions along its souther borders as Israel attempts to outflank Hezbollah. From Putins perspective, an R2P based incursion into Syria would scuttle his hopes for a return to a world order based on existing international law. Russia would then have to accept her position as a vassal state – something Putin is not going to agree to, however the grand illusionists believe Putin is just another crummy politician who will back down in the face of a barrage of tomahawks.
The only alternative I can think of is the one Col.. Lang has been pleading for. for weeks – for Russia and Syria to get boots on the ground in Idlib right now and roll the Jihadis up. Next week is going to be too late. The race into Idlib has started. Is there a Russian air mobile brigade available? Whoever is first into Idlib is going to determine the course of history for some time to come.