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-- escalating violence in Syria brings back memories of Cold War style maneuvering.
The US and Russia accusing each other of arming opposing sides in Syria.
As President Obama and Russian president Vladimir -- prepare to meet in Mexico next week.
Can they resolve what's become a terrible humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.
And what are the political stakes for President Obama here.
-- against -- is an expert on US and Russian national security at Carnegie endowments Russia and Eurasia program.
Matthew thanks for being with us today.
There's so much good to have this meeting scheduled for next week it is going to be their first meeting as president's.
Obviously Bruton was in office before but was prime minister when President Obama was elected.
What do you suppose that conversation will go like.
You know I think the most important dimension of the conversation now ironically ironically it's going to be the personal dimension.
You know prudent and Obama have met before -- was under slightly different circumstances the first time they met it was in Moscow.
Prudent lectured to Obama famously for over an hour about the recent history of US Russia relations all -- -- slights and offenses -- the United States.
Committed against Russian Obama said okay let's take a little time to talk about the future.
Well now it's the future the US and Russia have been cooperating pretty effectively actually behind the scenes the last several years on security and economic issues.
The relationship is going better than it seems from the public limelight.
And yet these guys have got some damage control to do they're gonna have to demonstrate for the cameras and for other world leaders that the United States and Russia can really work together.
Well and then there was that famous open Mike comment that mr.
Obama made to the former Russian president -- have.
I wanna play that again for our viewers so they can be reminded.
Well let's let's.
My -- It's.
After my election I have more flexibility everybody wonders more flexibility to do what.
Yeah I I think the answer is of course we're not gonna know that until after the election.
It is that common in particular was about ballistic missile defense this is something that -- the Russians perceive as a significant threat.
Today or nuclear deterrent the reality of course is it's not a short term or even a medium term threat so we're gonna have to find a face saving solution on that.
But you know the part of that exchange that I paid more attention to that not too many people talk about is the second part where -- -- -- -- you know I'll transmit this information to the boss.
We'll now Obama gets to talk directly to the boss that something he hasn't been doing for the last three years intentionally when Putin was behind the scenes as prime minister.
So this is the opportunity frankly we can make a lot more progress it's the boss talking to the boss what about the Syrian situation you've got ten -- perhaps 101000 people that are slaughtered by their own government.
And the Russians seemed to appear eager to support that -- government.
Yes I think the Russians have got to support the -- government.
In part it's because frankly.
The invoices that Russia's got outstanding and we're talking about billions of dollars here arms sales energy contract services infrastructure.
They've got -- name on them.
And nobody else's and so if he goes the Russians don't get paid that's a very fundamental very straightforward interest so obviously they also like.
It although -- -- on the money.
Money and I think influence.
And the ability to portray themselves as having basically an independent foreign policy.
There's a sense in which you know if the United States had not come out so strong and so early saying the Assad regime has got to go it's a criminal regime they're killing their people this is a moral issue.
That really push the Russians into a corner to say.
No -- we're drawing a line here you know you're not going to tell the world how to play this one and you're not gonna pick winners in Syria play Q did in Libya they really reject the Libya precedent.
International relations always so complicated Matthew -- Ganske thanks for helping to break -- break -- down force.
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