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Russia’s Middle East Power Play47:36
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Russia’s big power play in Syria, the US response, and where this could go.

In this photo taken on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, Syrian armored vehicles get ready to move near the village of Morek in Syria. The Syrian army has launched an offensive this week in central and northwestern Syria aided by Russian airstrikes. (AP)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, Syrian armored vehicles get ready to move near the village of Morek in Syria. The Syrian army has launched an offensive this week in central and northwestern Syria aided by Russian airstrikes. (AP)

For years, Syria fell apart and the Obama administration – by its action and inaction – celebrated American restraint. A quarter million died. Millions fled. ISIS rose. Europe was besieged. Washington largely held its fire. Now, Moscow is firing. Russian jets hit scores of targets just this last weekend. American jets are there as well, hitting ISIS. But Vladimir Putin is the swaggering power right now. With his own agenda. President Obama says he’ll find a quagmire. Right now he’s riding high. This hour On Point, new game. The Russian play in Syria, the US response, and where this goes.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Erin Cunningham, Middle East correspondent for the Washington Post. (@erinmcunningham)
John Herbst, director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council. Career State Department employee. Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and Uzbekistan. (@johnedherbst)

Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (@robsatloff)

Jeremy Shapiro, fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution's Project on International Order and Stability. Former member of the U.S. Department of State's policy planning staff for North Africa and the Middle East. (@jyshapiro)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: Did U.S. weapons supplied to Syrian rebels draw Russia into the conflict? — "American antitank missiles supplied to Syrian rebels are playing an unexpectedly prominent role in shaping the Syrian battlefield, giving the conflict the semblance of a proxy war between the United States and Russia, despite President Obama’s express desire to avoid one."

The Wall Street Journal: America’s Fading Footprint in the Middle East -- "From shepherding Israel toward peace with its Arab neighbors to rolling back Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait and halting the contagion of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, the U.S. has long been at the core of the Middle East’s security system. Its military might secured critical trade routes and the bulk of the world’s oil supply. Today, the void created by U.S. withdrawal is being filled by the very powers that American policy has long sought to contain."

60 Minutes: President Obama — "If you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we've got a different definition of leadership."

This program aired on October 13, 2015.

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