Trump is set to meet with Putin one-on-one this coming Monday in Helsinki after a contentious NATO summit and a sufficiently awkward visit with Theresa May, and mainstream pundits' heads are exploding.
The Post's Josh Rogin warns, Trump and Putin may be about to make a terrible deal on Syria, and Susan Rice suddenly emerges from obscurity and irrelevance to say in the Times that Trump Must Not Capitulate to Putin while urging the administration not to "prematurely withdraw United States forces [from Syria], thus thus ceding total victory to Russia, Mr. Assad and Iran." From North Korea to Afghanistan to Syria to Ukraine, Rice advises the typical regime change script of "harsh additional sanctions" anywhere the dictates of Washington are not strictly adhered to.
Similarly, Eli Lake links together the main regime change wars begun under Obama while lamenting their potential winding down as a result of Putin and Trump meeting as indicative of living in "some alternate universe". "The price of Russian cooperation in Syria cannot be U.S. capitulation on Crimea," Lake writes, and further calls such a possibility "the most dangerous possible outcome."