Expectations of a new U.S.-Russia relationship were tanking even before missile strike

Putin’s keen interest in international respect and relevance for both himself and Russia, and his determination to maintain his foothold in the Middle East, could still lead to a more robust Russian response. At a minimum, the strike reduces the agenda for Tillerson’s visit and talks that Russia’s leadership had seen as the first step in changing relations from confrontation to some form of cooperation.

“Now, this is about what kind of measures the two sides can take in order to prevent a hot U.S.-Russian war and an outright use of force against each other in Syria,” said Dmitry Suslov, a program director at the Valdai International Discussion Club, a Moscow-based think tank.

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