I don’t think President Donald Trump intended to anger Russian dictator Vladimir Putin when America delivered its spectacular cruise missile attack on the Syrian airfield that is base to the planes which dropped chemical weapons on hundreds of civilians, killing some 100, including at least 10 children.

I think Trump’s understanding of foreign affairs is so feeble that he really thought he could strike at Syria without offending La Putaine as long as the US warned Moscow to clear the airfield so no Russians were injured.

As to the Mother Of All Bombs attack in Afghanistan – I don’t believe it was Trump’s idea at all. I think the magnificent General James “Mad Dog” Matthis spotted an opportunity to do something demonstrative and useful there.

The good general likely suggested the attack as it would allow President El Tweeto to strut more of his macho stuff. It’s probably not difficult for someone like Mattis, who has courageously served his country for decades and often risked his life, to exert simple psychology on a spineless Vietnam-era draft-dodger like Trump so he acts tough, hoping to erase his cowardly past.

The effect of the US Syria bombing has been a hugely unpleasant and humiliating surprise for Putin. Despite the US giving two hours warning of what was about to happen, the Russians were impotent to do anything about the strike. They didn’t even try to use their much-vaunted S-400 surface to air weapons systems to intercept any of the US Tomahawk missiles heading their way.

In a petulant, bad-loser kind of way Moscow claimed Washington only gave an hour’s notice about the attack and said that around half the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched failed to find their targets. “So there America! You couldn’t stop Russian and Syrian jets taking off the very next day to murder more women and children.  Ha! Ha! Ha!” cackles Kremlin foreign minister Sergei Lavrov,  his Putin-ass-licking tongue defiantly protruding.

But sources who are military and Pentagon types (some of whom voted for El Tweeto) and definitely do know what went on explained:

1) When the Russians were given advanced warning of the attack they were also reminded that some of the Tomahawks have ARM capability. As a reminder, an anti-radiation missile (ARM) is designed to detect and home in on an enemy radio emission source. That means if the Russians had tried to use their S-300 and S-400 anti-air weapons systems, some of the Tomahawks would have smartly diverted to follow the Russian radar tracks and blow the Russian equipment and operators to smithereens. So it didn’t matter whether the US had given two hours warning or two days, the Russians could do nothing about the Tomahawks. Several very big potential customers (in the Middle East and Asia) who had been considering buying the Russian systems are now rethinking as a result, meaning that Moscow will lose billions of dollars in weapons sales.

2) The US launched 61 Tomahawks. One went into the sea and the other failed in the launcher. 59 struck the target.

3) The US didn’t even try to pepper the runways with bombs in an attempt to disable them because even Third-World style militaries like Russia and President Assad have the ability to quickly patch up airfields. So the US focused on destroying aircraft bunkers and buildings with valuable command and control equipment.

4) The US only wanted to make a point about chemical weapons. Prior to this, the Russians and Assad could courageously bomb civilians with barrel bombs to their hearts’ content, the feeling being that nobody would want to go to war with the Russians. The Tomahawk attacked changed that. The strike also showed that Washington was firmly back as a player in any resolution to the Syrian imbroglio. A puffed-up Putin last January revelled in his “international conference on Syria” in the Kazakh capital Astana because he thought he’d insulted and sidelined America, which wasn’t invited. Now the Astana event has been revealed as a Mickey Mouse conference with the rodent-like Putin running nowhere fast inside his wheel.

But throughout all of this Trump has assiduously avoided levelling direct criticism at Putin. Although others in his administration openly wondered whether Moscow knew about the Syrian government’s planned chemical attack (the Russians were certainly involved in trying to eradicate evidence of the atrocity when Syrian and, likely, Russian planes bombed the hospital treating victims of the chemical attack).

In answer to a journalist’s question whether he believed the Russians knew about the Syrians’ chemical weapons, Trump said it was possible but that he himself thought it unlikely. Those kind of weasel words leave a crack open for Putin, and the likes of Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov wide enough to insist that the Syrian government never carried out the chemical attack against its own people, that President Assad doesn’t possess such weapons, and that Russia was never involved in anything reprehensible.

I’m writing this in Ukraine, where the war against the Russian invaders has never stopped and costs Ukrainian lives almost every day. In recent weeks there has been a deadly uptick in Russian aggression and there are reports of tens of thousands of Russian troops massing on the border.

There was much rejoicing when the US attacked the Syrian airfield and Ukrainians hoped that Trump had finally seen the light, that his bromance with Putin was over, and he would arm Ukraine (which has never asked for foreign soldiers to do its fighting) so it could defeat Putin.

For Ukrainians, the Syrian conflict and their own fight for life are closely intertwined. The realisation that the bombings of Syria and Afghanistan weren’t a turning-point that changed the game for Ukraine in its existential struggle has dampened spirits somewhat.

Putin, Lavrov, Peskov and so forth are the same crew that in 2014 for weeks boldly lied that Russia wasn’t invading Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, and later that Russia wasn’t supplying weapons and regular troops in the invasion of Eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region. They indignantly denied the overwhelming evidence that Moscow provided, and most probably manned, the surface to air missile system which destroyed a Malaysian airliner with hundreds of civilian passengers in July 2014.

The Kremlin’s propaganda often works by shooting out various (often contradictory and outlandish) conspiracy theories to cover their tracks. Individually their accounts may look ridiculous, almost comic, but the purpose is to muddy the waters with so much puzzling, disconnected nonsense that people shake their heads and give up on trying to understand. For Moscow’s distortion mill, that’s good enough.

Credit for the robust actions in Syria and Afghanistan goes to the true American patriots in the presidential administration who are endeavouring to steer a sensible and honourable course for their country, despite their president.

Even though popular approval in the US for the military action was high and cut across party lines, it hasn’t snuffed out the investigations by the FBI and intelligence committees in both chambers of Congress looking into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential elections and delving into Trump’s plentiful connections with Putin and other unsavoury Russian characters.

As more information emerges, it strengthens the allegations (that this publication wrote about before most others) that money lies at the core of those entanglements. To be precise, huge sums of shady Russian money bought up hundreds of expensive apartments in Trump’s luxury property developments, thereby rescuing his failing and bankrupt-prone enterprises. The purchases enabled Russian oligarchs, many closely tied to Putin and others operating with his permission, to embed money, much of it that looks of questionable origin by western standards of good business governance, into the US financial system by a process that resembles money laundering.

Investigators have focused on some characters that we spotlighted months ago, such as Paul Manafort, Dmytro Firtash and Carter Page. Page, linked to Trump’s campaign, bizarrely seems to be admitting he had contact with Russian spies.

Meanwhile Manafort, who worked as Trump’s campaign manager at a critical period, made millions of dollars advising and polishing the image of corrupt, pro-Putin Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort also reportedly offered to work directly for Putin.

One of Manafort’s former clients, Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash, ran a company suspected in siphoning off billions of dollars in gas profits for Putin. He is being extradited to the US.

Manafort has already had to admit to some Ukrainian dealings he tried to conceal and is likely to come under further pressure as a result of the Congressional and FBI investigations. Firthash is probably going to get prison time whatever he does, but both he and Manafort are likely to try to cut deals where they give information that will help in the investigations concerning Trump and Russia.

So however angry the Russians are that their supposed ally in the White House ordered the strike on the Syrian government airbase, the issue of Trump’s murky ties with Moscow is far from settled.