US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has resorted to shuttle diplomacy in a bid to improve relations between Donald Trump’s government and the Kremlin.
In a heavy schedule, he has jetted from Washington to Italy and then Moscow to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin face-to-face following the dreadful chemical weapons attack on defenceless children and villagers in Syria last week.
But despite the deaths and deadly retaliation with a strike by American cruise missiles, nothing has changed.
Russia and Syria’s President Assad are still bombing, shelling and machine gunning civilians.
Assad has managed to kill more than 200,000 civilians and displace half his countries population in five years of brutal civil war.
Blood on their hands
Putin claims Assad has no chemical weapons and did not launch the controversial attack on Khan Sheikhoun.
No doubt the so-called rebel forces are carrying out their own atrocities.
Everyone has blood on their hands in this sad war.
Politicians do not seem to realise that the civilised world is outraged by Putin and Assad.
Talking does not save lives as powerful presidents take part in a war of words that solves nothing.
The only certainty is the war in Syria will end at some time, but only when each side sees no advantage to their own position in continuing their campaigns of hate.
Assad will control a country with millions seeking a better life elsewhere, with a crippled infrastructure and a devastated economy if he survives long enough.
Russia see him as their only ally in the Middle East and the only country where they have a toe-hold with a base for their navy and air force.
Trump calls Assad evil and a monster.
“If Russia didn’t go in and back this animal, you wouldn’t have a problem right now,” he said on TV.
Tillerson also revealed a rift between G7 allies during his trip.
To outsiders, the US and Britain seem close on policy towards Russia and Syria, but Germany, Italy and France do not want to confront Moscow with more sanctions or ultimatums.
Britain is drafting a United Nations resolution demanding an investigation into the chemical weapons attack – but Russia has already made clear they will veto the move.