Interests, Not Posturing, Drive Russia—and U.S.—Policy on Syria

Interests, Not Posturing, Drive Russia—and U.S.—Policy on Syria
U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he leaves Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, Oct. 12, 2015 (AP photo by Denis Poroy).

President Barack Obama’s interview Sunday evening with Steve Kroft of the CBS News program “60 Minutes” offered a revealing insight into the foreign policy mindset of the Washington Beltway—not due to anything that Obama said, but rather due to the questions posed to him by Kroft.

When asking about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military interventions in Ukraine and Syria, Kroft directly challenged Obama. “You said a year ago,” said Kroft, “that the United States . . . leads. We’re the indispensable nation. Mr. Putin seems to be challenging that leadership.”

Obama tried, in vain, to point out that Putin’s moves in Syria and Ukraine are a sign of Russian weakness, not leadership, but Kroft would have none of it. “He’s challenging your leadership, Mr. President,” Kroft interjected. “He’s challenging your leadership.”

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