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What Is Behind US-Russia "Power-Game"?

At night the US, UK and France carried out targeted strikes in Syria in response to the supposed chemical attacks there.

After the strikes in an address to his nation US President Trump said that Britain, France, and the United States of America have marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality. In his turn Russia's ambassador to the US responded by saying the attack on its ally "will not be left without consequences," BBC reports.

To remind following the Skripal case, "sanction war" began between the two countries, which somehow united the US and its EU allies against Russia. The relations of the sides further escalated after the supposed chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria on April 4. The US and the West blamed the Syrian government and Russia for the attack. The accusation was denied both by Syrian government and Russia. Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov even questioned the fact of chemical attack itself, declaring that they have "irrefutable information that it was another fabrication." 

After Russian ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, warned that Russian forces in Syria would intercept any incoming US missiles, the US President Donald Trump made a Twitter post which reads: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart!" You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!" Russia and Syria quickly responded to Trump's threat: Syria's Foreign Ministry said it was not surprised by the US' "reckless escalation" via Trump's tweets, while Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a Facebook post that "smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legal government that has been fighting international terrorism for several years on its territory."

Despite tension at the level of official statements it was interesting that after the US President Donald Trump met with his national security team on Thursday to discuss a potential military response to the ongoing crisis in Syria, information was disseminated that hotline between the US and the Kremlin is "active" and is used by both nations to communicate their planned operations and military responses in Syria following the chemical attack in Douma. The disseminated information came to prove that the sides wanted to avoid direct confrontation.

Thus one can come to the question: "What was behind the US determination to strike?"

At this stage of developments, when the US current administration deliberately has aimed at the "hardened stance" of its foreign policy (appointment of hardliner high-level officials - the US new State Secretary Mike Pompeo and the new White House national security advisor John Bolton, the new set of sanctions against Russia), the US faces the issue of strengthening its stance and role on various issues, such as Syrian crisis, Korean crisis, negotiations with Iran etc. And the airstrikes against Syria helped the US to stay loyal to this line and "to keep its face"; the fact which is realized by Russia.

This intention of the US was also clearly stated during the US Senate confirmation hearing of Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who advocated for advocated "pushing back" against Moscow's efforts around the globe.

Thus we can state that although at this stage it is unlikely that Russia and the US will intentionally go into direct confrontation, the proof of which is the willingness of the sides to coordinate their actions in Syria before the strikes. Instead they will resort to separate actions, the example of which was the very US coordinated air strikes on Syria, to strengthen their positions at various issues. Unfortumately this "power game" will make the peaceful residents of Syria suffer once again, who will become innocent victims of the situation.

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