It’s hard to know who is making policy in Washington these days. Did the decision to shoot down a Syrian plane come out of the White House? The Pentagon? The CIA? The State Department? Hard to say for sure, but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claims the US is seeking a “deescalation” of the situation in Syria.
“The escalation of hostilities among all of the factions that are operating there doesn’t help anybody,” Spicer said in a press briefing on Monday. “And so making sure that people understand while we want to de-escalate the situation there, that we have to understand that we will always preserve the right of self-defense.”
He also said the US must “do what we can to work with partners” and that the US will “keep an open line of communication with the Russians,” though how this is going to be achieved, given the fact that Russia has broken off the so-called “deconfliction” channel it set up to communicate with US forces in 2015, is not made clear.
Spicer’s comments are so convoluted and nonsensical it is impossible to draw any clear meaning from them. On the one, he wants to “de-escalate” things in Syria, but on the other he tells us the US intends to “preserve the right of self-defense,” this, of course, as it carries out an illegal invasion of a sovereign country.
Below are some perspectives on the developing crisis that are a bit more coherent and rational than Spicer’s. An important point that gets made is that the US media will almost inevitably spin the story in such a manner that will escalate the situation further.