The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from

Never passing up a chance to make Trump look weak on the world stage, the Kremlin on Friday stressed that when it came to last week’s U.S.-led missile strikes on Syria, Russia dictated what bombing sights were off limits.

If true, the revelation makes a mockery of Trump’s attempt at get-tough rhetoric about Russia in the days leading up to the strikes.

It’s also just the latest example of an American president who seems to habitually bow down to Moscow.

Discussing the attacks on Syria, Russia’s Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov insisted the Kremlin was very much in the loop and helped set the perimeters.

“There were military leadership contacts, between generals, between our representatives and the coalition leadership” he said. “They were informed about where our red lines are, including red lines on the ground, geographically. And the results show that they did not cross these red lines.”

That boastful explanation completely undercuts the premise of the attack, which should have been to punish Russia. A key ally of Syria, Russia has denied that any chemical attack took place on April 7 in the Syrian city of Douma. The attack killed more than 40.

Earlier this month, Trump was trash-talking about the planned strikes and warning Russia to butt out:

That gambit seemed designed to bolster Trump’s hollow mantra about how “tough” he’s been on Russia, even after Russian operatives helped him win the 2016 election.

In the week since the U.S. joined France and the U.K. in launching missiles strikes against the Syrian government in response to its use of chemical weapons, the foray has devolved into yet another political headache for Trump.

And as usual, the problem has been Russia.

On Sunday, Trump’s U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley announced to the world that the U.S. would be rolling out more sanctions against Russia for its support of the murderous Syrian regime. The sanctions were to target Russian companies that helped Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s government in making and deploying chemical weapons.

Haley’s declaration reportedly sent Trump into a rage, as he yelled at his television.

Then, the White House quickly contradicted Haley. When a Trump adviser tried to blame her for the “confusion,” she hit back. “With all due respect,” Haley said, “I don’t get confused.”

By Thursday, it was reported that Trump’s team informed Russian officials there would be no sanctions before Trump even told his own U.S. ambassador.

Bottom line: There will be no additional U.S. penalties against Russia in the wake of the chemical attacks. Once again, Trump caved to the Kremlin.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.