It took some digging this morning, but it finally makes sense.

One thing I still don't quite understand is why the necessity for the chemical weapons ruse, but it doesn't really matter.  

The point of the strikes is denying Russia the ability to setup area denial weapons in Syria.  My guess is Israel discovered way more installations than they were prepared for, and if they had been allowed to come online, would've effectively grounded Israel's air force.  Israel couldn't strike that many targets that quickly in Syria, so requested assistance from the West.

Now I'm not saying the "chemical attack" was a false flag, perpetrated by Israel or the U.S. or one of our allies.  Something may have actually happened.  My own opinion is that the footage comes from people who died earlier and is only now being spread around by the various rebel factions because they're losing their final foothold around Damascus.

Regardless, I think the strike now makes more sense from a strategic perspective.  Russia simply cannot be allowed to shut down that portion of the Mediterranean.  Trump knows it, May knows it, Macron knows it.

I doubt Putin is willing to go to full scale war over area denial weapons.  More than likely he'll simply wait until a more favorable president (read: Democrat) is in office and simply build up his forces with impunity then.

I mean it worked in the Crimea.