Russia and Iran in Syria, why it matters: Mark on the radio

Iran says the Russian air force has wrapped up its week-long series of airstrikes in Syria launched from a base in Iran. I talked about this a few minutes ago with host P.J. Maloney on KQV Radio in Pittsburgh. In the short term, US forces could get caught in a crossfire. In the long term, Russia is likely to get caught in a Syrian “quagmire,” a term that dates back to Vietnam, and the US should put its resources elsewhere

You’ll hear P.J. ask me if US policy in the Mideast should still be driven by the two traditional factors–Israel and oil. The brief reply is no and no.

P.J. didn’t ask how all this fits into the aftermath of the nuclear deal with Iran. He was right not to ask–it has nothing to do with that deal. We need to get away from the idea that everything Iran does is aimed at undermining the nuclear accord and screwing the West. And even if it were–it would be in our interest to make it worthwhile for Iran to change its behavior–not harp and complain and beat our chests with “I told you so.” Here’s more on that vital issue.

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