Trump bows to Russia on Syrian conflict and election interference ahead of his Putin meeting

Donald Trump and his minions are really rolling out the proverbial red carpet for Russian President Vladimir Putin in advance of Trump’s Friday meeting with him at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Russia was so pleased with Trump’s assertion Thursday that Russia “could well” have hacked the U.S. election but “nobody really knows for sure,” a Kremlin spokesman responded to the speech by urging that people “please note the nuances” of what Trump said. Moscow may as well have said, “Please note the talking point we gave Trump.”

The Trump administration is also striking a conciliatory tone on the Syrian conflict, where Russia has worked assiduously to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. After finding Assad’s use of chemical weapons on his own people several months ago so objectionable that Trump green lit a U.S. air strike in Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is

offering to work with Russia to stabilize the region. The AP writes:

In a statement Wednesday , Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is open to establishing no-fly zones in Syria in coordination with Russia as well as jointly setting up a truce monitoring and humanitarian aid delivery mechanism.  […] But he stressed that Russia has to play a constructive role.

“While there are no perfect options for guaranteeing stability, we must explore all possibilities for holding the line against the resurgence of ISIS or other terrorist groups,” Tillerson said. “The United States and Russia certainly have unresolved differences on a number of issues, but we have the potential to appropriately coordinate in Syria in order to produce stability and serve our mutual security interests.” […]

Tillerson added that Russia has “an obligation to prevent any further use of chemical weapons of any kind by the Assad regime.”

Now there’s a statement with real teeth: Telling Russia that they are “obligated” to do the right thing. Let’s remember that just three months ago following Assad’s chemical attack that killed dozens of Syrian civilians, Tillerson took to saber rattling, saying that he saw “no role” for Assad in Syria and adding a few days later that his rule was “coming to an end.”

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