Russia lost the political poker for Syria
Which were the failures of the Russian Federation in the political game about the strike?
The USA and Russia both made promises regarding their action on the conflict in Syria. The USA promised military action against Syria in Trump’s posts on Twitter. On contrary the Russians also made promises - finally to answer hostile strikes against their Syrian allies. Russia even went so far to say that they would return fire.
Regarding this poker for power there could only be one winner of this poker game of geostrategy. Either the USA or Russia.
While it was until the last minute unclear and it looked like Trump would give up he returned last night to the game and fired missiles on Syria.
But what went wrong?
Russia was not able poker high enough in the conflict. Russia was again put under pressure and then also lured with "help in economics" from the USA. And so Trump and the western leaders called Putin to tell him about their decision for strikes against Syria. Putin gave the green light.
What should instead have been his answer?
First of all Putin should have pursued his national interest and tell western leaders on the phone that any strikes against Russian allies WILL be answered by counter strikes by the Russian military. Any weakness in negotiations with western states will be used by them and noted for the future.
Additionally, Russia should have threatened the USA to hit their military bases in the Kurdish controlled areas, because they are in Syria without any legitimation. A confrontation with them is inevitable in any case and a matter of time.
Russia should also have created a buffer zone at the Syrian coast with its military ships and let Russian jets circle constantly over US military ships to create an atmosphere of fear.
And of course Russia made again the mistake to trust the west regarding the S-300 and S-400 systems, which were never deployed to Syria. While countries like Turkey and Saudi-Arabia (which is by the way together with the USA responsible for collapse of the oil price and the ruble), which are in fact geopolitical enemies of Russia, were delivered for money S-400 systems, they were not deployed to Syria. The western leaders put pressure on Russia not to deploy the systems. However, we have seen that no word of a western leader can be trusted and they knew why they tried to enforce this policy.
So Russia should have deployed S-300 and S-400 systems to Syria to prevent any attacks on any positions. The question is not about which positions are hit, but that positions are hit and this weakens the Russian position. And this also is a signal to the Russian allies and also possible allies.
Russia should also have deployed Russian military personnel on any strategic position to create even more fear for the USA of escalating the conflict with Russia if the USA hit any Russian soldier. And of course, when the west asked to give a green light for the targets Putin must have said that there are everywhere Russian soldiers on the ground and they are not going to leave their positions at any costs. So, it is their problem if they kill somebody and escalate the conflict into a full-scale war with Russia.
Furthermore Putin had the possibility to play the card of Ukraine in this poker game saying that any attack on Syria will cancel the Minsk 2 agreement from the Russian side.
Russia and Putin had more than one card to play in this poker game of geostrategy - however none of them were played. Now the propaganda machine tries to hide the fact that there was no adequate response to the western treats by the quote of downed missiles and the missing of a full scaled attack on Syria. However, history has yet to be written and the weakened political chess game of Russia can make future strikes on Syria more possible.
Despite Russia lost the political poker for Syria it might still be able to win the war in Syria with its Syrian ally, but Russia will not get strengthened out of this conflict. Instead Russia has proven by its missing military action that it is not able to act like a super-power on global scale. Instead of pursuing its interest Russia bowed to the enemy and even tried to put trust into international institutions, which are not worth anything, when it comes to geostrategy. So, we have to reconsider the position of Turkey, when it is undecided between an alliance with Russia and China and the USA. If Russia is not able to protect the interests and territory of its allies - why should Turkey or any other partner join an alliance with Russia?