Putin sits back as US, allies strike Syria

Just as well Putin is not as impulsively reactive as Trump, no doubt, would have been had the situation been reversed.

From AP News:

Facing a stark choice between engaging the United States, Britain and France in combat or passively watching them strike his ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin has opted for the peaceful route.

That cautious response may dent the Russian leader’s tough-man image but it won’t undermine his gains in Syria or erode his authority at home.

The Kremlin had warned Washington that Russia would fend off any strike that jeopardized its servicemen in Syria. The West respected that red line by giving advance notice of Saturday’s attack, just as it did a year ago when it struck a Syrian air base. Russia had sat idle back then, but this time, it had threatened to retaliate.

Such a clash could have quickly spun out of control—an extremely dangerous scenario that was widely compared to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when the world narrowly escaped a nuclear conflict. […]

The Kremlin’s tight control over the media will help Putin avoid any significant damage to his carefully nurtured image of a strong leader.

In fact, his cautious stance could boost his popularity further amid fears of war that swept Russia. In recent days, state media have been offering tips on how to behave in a nuclear conflict and what supplies to take to bomb shelters.

Most Russians will now heave a sigh of relief and feel grateful to Putin for pulling back from the brink. State TV channels compared what they described as U.S. President Donald Trump’s reckless action with the responsible, statesmanlike stance taken by Putin.

Read the whole thing …