Judging from the current overheated rhetoric in Washington, World War III is fast approaching. The alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma — and President Donald Trump’s latest tweeted response suggesting that a US retribution strike against Damascus is imminent — pushes us directly over the red line declared by the Russian General Staff last month, when they threatened to shoot down any plane or ship launching such an attack and thereby endangering their servicemen on the ground there.
As the US Congress and mainstream media see it, in the looming confrontation
My humble opinion is that whatever you might think of Mr. Putin so far no one detected in him masochistic inclinations. Only a masochist with the clear disposition to inflict huge damage on himself would order the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter on the eve of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia, which rivals the Olympic Games in global prestige.
Speaking in terms of good versus evil, even if one believes all accusations about Russia and Putin, try to compare the multitudes of dead, wounded, and displaced, as well as the devastation caused by the military actions of the West in the Middle East under the banner of promoting freedom and democracy, against comparable crimes caused by Russia. These numbers are readily available. They show that since Russia emerged as an independent state in 1991 at best for the West the ratio is around 100:1, but it might be even worse.
To summarize, what we need now is a well-prepared Trump-Putin summit to find a way out of this mega-crisis and make a mutually beneficial deal to avoid the looming catastrophe. Trump’s enemies are doing everything possible to prevent or disrupt any summit, so therefore Washington probably is not the best place to have it.
Neutral Vienna, where the young Premier Sebastian Kurz keeps showing his independence from the big boys, could be a more logical venue if one is looking for a positive outcome.
If Trump and Putin can make a deal but Congress with its miserable 15% approval rating tries to block it, Trump should appeal directly to American people. Let them decide whether we will have war or peace.
In the meantime contrary to the war mongers on earth the Americans Ricky Arnold, Drew Feustel, Scott Tingle, the Russians Oleg Artemyev and Anton Shkaplerov together with the Japanese Norishige Kanai are obviously sending the message for peace and cooperation from space.
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Edward Lozansky is president of the American University in Moscow, Professor of Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities. He is the author of the book "Operation Elbe”, which describes joint US – Russia anti-terrorist efforts.