As has been widely circulated by now, the Trump administration carried out an offensive against the Syrian regime Friday night that was meant as a response to the earlier usage of chemical weapons on the Syrian people by that regime.
The strikes have commandeered the news cycle at a time when the president continues to face a significant cloud of scandal reaching from the Russia investigation to his relationship with adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
The strikes are also a rare instance of an action of the Trump administration putting us at odds with Russia. Russia has long backed the Syrian regime, and earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went so far as to say that the chemical attack in Douma was staged.
Vice President Mike Pence responded to these issues while in South America this Saturday, where he is filling in for the president who chose to stay behind to deal with the crisis over the Syrian government’s chemical weapons.
He presented a condemnation of the Russians for their involvement with the Syrian regime, asserting that the United States is firmly on the opposite side of this ordeal.
Pence began by commenting:
‘Our message to Russia is you’re on the wrong side of history. It time for Russia to get the message that President Trump delivered last night that you’re known by the company you keep.’
He went on to reference the 2014 agreement negotiated under the Obama administration that was meant to mark the end of chemical weapons in the hands of the Syrian government, an agreement that in the face of continued chemical attacks has proven ineffective.
‘Russia has been standing by aiding and abetting and supporting this brutal regime. And the time has come for Russia to join the family of nations in condemning the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons and demanding that they live up to the commitments that they made in 2014 under the last administration… Russia and Iran are on the wrong side of history, and last night, President Trump called on them, as we call on every nation across the world, to join us in condemning the use of chemical weapons.’
Check out video of his remarks below.
Russia certainly has not heeded the call that the vice president says Trump made with the Friday night strikes. Instead, they have made every indication of digging into their position.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov, for instance, issued a statement following the attacks reading, in part:
‘The worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard. A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.’
Antonov’s reference to a “pre-designed scenario” is an apparent point to the Russian contention that the Douma chemical attack was staged to give the West an excuse to attack Syria; the strikes were carried out with the cooperation of the French and British governments, and in that light, Antonov specifically called out Washington, London, and Paris in his post-strikes statement.
As for the president, he himself has taken to calling out Russia in connection to the Douma chemical attack — although this past Wednesday he followed that up by blaming Democrats for “much of the bad blood.”
For now, the world remains perched in a tenuous position, and we have someone leading the United States who remains without a broad base of foreign policy experience.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video