judgments in the officer is responsible for the decisions he or she makes. ambassadors cannot interfere for that reason. said to have the responsibility and the authority they cannot issue the visa. i don't have that authority that the counselor officer queued do so. this puts the horrific responsibility it is their decision. who ever the up for officer
>> years ago we had a no-fly zone in iraq. how successful were they? with the large measure of the implements specific to withdraw and all the things the when issued to every dimension even with military strength in the region. just as they increase from vietnam. >> the no-fly zone worked pretty well in northern iraq. ended in southern iraq you touched on an important point.
but in the north in the kurdish region and you have forces on the ground. i made several visits to northern iraq in 2002 and saw it firsthand they controlled the ground and we controlled the air to keep the iraqis out. the southern shia did not have that if he did so saddam hussein killed the southern iraqis by other means rather than and helicopters. but that is important. if you look at the no-fly zone in an syria there has to be a ground component.
and with u.s. boots of the ground with every islamic state and they cannot do that. in the south bbb jordanians could predicates complicated. and four no-fly zones to succeed there has to be controlled otherwise i was there and 2003 the occupancy of which were not all placed there is a subsequent decade
that got a lot of people killed and one thing i would not do is do not send 101st airborne in the islamic state. into precipitate it certainly did but i have argued for some time. not the withdrawal of military that made that crucial dash difference but of the political engagement. as i was out there with secretary of state every couple of months. but that all stopped when we
polled our forces out. political this engagement has more to do the unraveling the and the military withdrawal the we have seen unfortunately as freely and one to the other. that if you are politically engaged maybe they don't have to. >> as of this to policy disaster related to that speech with the global
leadership of the united states. but on the one hand the u.s. policy with syria has been pulling for the regime change with the chaos if it is called an now with secretary kerry that it is no longer to have the regime change. >> speaking to the u.s. leadership i read that quite literally to play a leader role with friends and allies around the world with that
unilateral action will only make things worse. these are collected challenges the require a collective response but i see energy indeed for the response. and that means building a consensus. so very much against unilateral action will solve nothing at this juncture. but collective commitment can manage the scene setter and managed at the moment. and rick respect u.s. policy towards syria i worry
greatly of the perception that i said earlier that there is a washington damascus access that is effectively in support of assad and therefore the larger the sunii population. it is inconsistent with our values per barrel and it will intensify a conflict on the road to resolution. >> mr. ambassador i am with the u.s. commission on international religious freedom. the refugees are unlikely to be resettled or return home.
lot of organization that is invested to do much more to provide employment opportunities and working to do what you are targeted at with the civil societies with populations. the dead different ethnic or religious backgrounds. and that when circumstances to permit and with a different sense of who they are.
but it takes resources and right now we don't have that live alone to work on critical issues that is the bad situation getting so very worse. if we could stabilize refugee populations and work to give them better lives and a hope for the future we're going a long and weigh with a post crisis environment that is far more positive.
>> good morning. the with the governors of the press club the tomorrows spending bill will vote on those provisions what does that mean for criticisms of dual citizenship? >> the queue for asking that. the good news with the omnibus spending bill is the entire refugee elements of the bills are not there. with a very discriminatory language with the visa waiver program. i have not sat down to read the text yet.
but in addition to requiring a visa for the individual that has that requirement waived to travel to select countries it goes into a very dangerous area to say in the fact that british born citizens who happen to have a syrian or iranian father that they had never been to that country is no longer eligible for the waiver. that just really scares me. it is highly discriminatory and discriminatory based. but to your father or mother is if you are prepared to pass legislation about that
would about ourselves? with the most dangerous devotions and peter is made that is contrary to the values. so i hope and they pull that out and we have to be vigilant. and they are motivated by fear. that is what i meant to to sit down under a tree. that is counter to our own national security. than the spending bill avoided divorced.
by convening those agencies that are involved. with the state and local requirements and to handle refugees at home. what are the resources? who'd needs what and where? i would like to see us can be a refugee summit. that we would convene an share. with such an initiative a lot of other work would start to get done.
what is the situation in europe? what do they need from us? how are the middle eastern allies looking at this? so the summit itself isn't the start of the process to be a force the mechanism to start the hard conversations of long all the participants i start at home, i start abroad between the administration and the hill. id to take that deep breath let's look at the values and interest in medicine proceed
from there. is a terrific organization. after you contribute to the arabs centered universe secord -- mercy core and there we have a legal challenge brought by the state against resettlement of refugees in the state and working with human rights first to file a declaration or a brief as part of that case. and as we look to step forward we have to watch our backs because there are some
bright indeed pain is a broad. >> next three questions. >> i work with the global the work and visiting the syrian refugees. to talk about hope there are syrians and other refugees to use the darr rejection of about welcoming 10,000 but we have hundreds of thousands of sharing our small loaf of bread.
also on the humanitarian side that are taking $20 per day per person. so how can we with a heart to be open to them? >> it is a pretty horrible situation. it isn't all about the money. but a lot of it is about the money. what ever we can do individually and collectively to overcome the wave of donor fatigue that is sweeping the world to indicate that these are human beings.
they need our help and it is our duty to help them. we have to reenergize both governments and populations to be more generous because we see the stipend eliminated and food rations cut and that will just get worse because without a summit approach to reenergize the global community, that kind of resources will keep going down as the refugees increase. to bear the enormous burden
to have that up -- obligation. >> i am of the board here. i just got back from palestine i was there with congressional staff but behind us and in front of us was a trail that revisiting day refugee cubes in jordan that the to the big about your comment of the resources may be there is a case to make with the appropriations committee if they will not take the refugees because that is a tough sell right now by the way democrats and republicans has the democrat not letting them in either i don't think it is a republican thing but to help the refugees where they are.
can you, but on that? >> i am delighted to hear their warehousing and senate delegations out there. yes. not to harp on this but wouldn't it be great if the president invited members of those delegations who went out to these countries to be invited to a the white house to is thank you for your interest for taking the trouble now what will redo? because you are right. it is not a partisan issue. is a national issue and sadly i have been getting some very interesting mail since last month and that
comes from self-declared democrats. i get that. we have a negative bipartisanship refugee resettlement. so let's get some positive bipartisanship going on to support refugees where they navy currently. but it will take leadership. those members will not come together back here to say we will do that. it will not happen but if they all go to the white house that could start. >> on the absence of
leadership is that to invigorate to see leadership coming out of the region? >> here it comes again. you may see arab states start to step forward with the united states seriously in fades. everybody is watching us and not seeing much so if they don't see anything, it is a hard truth. it is the 25th anniversary of the awacs -- iraqi invasion of kuwait.
think of the coalition that came together to expel iraq from kuwait the greatest since the second world war in which the saudi and egyptian and syrian forces were all present. do you think the region or the international community would have come together without u.s. leadership? not a chance. absolutely not. this is a challenge of the different nature. but there is one common thread. none of this could happen without the united states at the center. that has been the way the world worked since world war ii. with the strength and influence have diminished but it is still there.
most importantly there is no other source. our friends came together 25 years ago and i think they would again but it would require that same dynamic from our side. >> let me say we are all is an agreement over syrian refugees but outside of washington when i see is a certain amount of argument spaulding on the apollo years that are contradictory. you say we support american values that is why we do this but did you began your speech to say a substantial majority that tried to impose in the land of
democracy. second you say we have the most rigorous system possible it takes two years to get here but if you say that to people on the countryside they say four years to bring in 2500 that how is next year 10,000 without changing your standards and values? can we trust washington to handle this well? >> for the first part i am making a plea not to override public opinion but to engage public opinion. i hear the negative voices out there i don't hear very many positive ones to explain why support for refugees is in the national interest in accordance with national values.
>> now, i have been involved in particular with the issue of iraqis and afghans that have worked for us. and because of that they are in jeopardy. and we could do this screening without taking anything away from them. but we could do it faster if we made it a high priority. so i would be asking, let's take this from this priority and make it a top tier priority.
we want to put the resources and manpower into it. to do a screening that is far more quickly than we are doing it now. right now it is so far down the line of priorities that it takes what i think is unconscionable length of time. this is a global crisis. let's treat it like one. which manifestly we are not doing now. >> okay. with this, i would like to thank everyone for being here today and for your lively participation in the discussion. >> i would like to thank everyone for being here. [applause] >> thank you to the center
>> i like to write about reagan because i grew up in the 80s that he developed the 80s. so it was a house in time for us. but i also write about the facts and i don't that up. it was a hell see on time for uk about ronald reagan so that it was the picture that emerged instead of the. >> sunday night on 8:00 o'clock on c-span2. >> coming up next, the implications of u.s. and turkey foreign policy. this is at the center for political and economic research.
especially with the dynamics on the ground and transportation. [inaudible] so now it is entirely clear what russia is doing in syria. [inaudible] but we are going to talk about the rules of russia and syria and also in the context of the most recent incident and how that will impact the russia and turkey relationship and also
what is going forward. i have a great panel with me and distinguished speakers to my left. jeffrey is the senior fellow and director of the you -- eurasia program. and he is also a speaker on russian foreign policy among other issues. especially with u.s. and russia relationships also. he was just telling us that he just got back from russia yesterday. and so it's very interesting about the u.s. and russia
relationships. we have hannah, who is a research fellow and she focuses on eastern european politics and she is also talking about the u.s. and russia relationship as well. and our colleague is a research director as well. and so i want to thank my panel and thank you for being here for this discussion and without further ado i will turn to my
left and we will start with jeffrey who will talk about the u.s. and russia relationship and then we will go over to hannah as well in regards to what that means in the context of serious and then leaving into a conversation on russia and turkey relationships. and that will be part of this as well. >> thank you, i want to paint a broader picture of the actions in syria and the implications for the you bigger u.s.
relationship. of course there is always a prehistory to this. and in this case i would say that the important part goes back to the cold war. when the soviet union was a key player in the middle east and had a number of individuals in the region including syria and also iraq and the fascist regimes and the plo and some others. the soviet union's support is part of the globalization of the cold war in the 1960s. in the middle east became this latter-day cold war conflict between russia and moscow. they lost their regional hinterland and also their role as the leading patron of some of the regimes in the middle east in that part of the world, to the extent that when the united
states coalition to push the iraqi army out of kuwait in 1991, it actually got on board despite the fact that this is the current state of the soviet union. so at the end of the cold war and the soviet collapse, and try to integrate more deeply with the west. and this includes largely with what the united states and what they're trying to do. and russia has reversed course on this count. and we can see this as one of the key areas seeking to reassert its own goal, and this
is the context in which the arab spring broke out with russia in very different terms. in the typical way that we talked about the arab spring in 2011 what was happening, we have been repressed for too long by the autocratic governor governm. this upsurge in the arab world was being served as a revolt with the authorities with the range of radical and uncontrollable forces. for stability in the middle east and also in russia's neighborhood and given the large muslim populations in russia as well. so for that reason moscow was
quite opposed to the change of the context of the arab spring and was very worried that u.s. foreign policy was promoting chaos and instability and could have effects, blowback effects. where the u.s. has gotten involved, moscow says that it has only contributed to instability. and that includes in favor of uncontrolled chaos and it will emerge in its place. given that background, that only
in part, possibly in small part, this has been a very reliable partner from moscow and there is an interest in preserving the rule to some extent. but i think that there is a bigger set of issues here for intervention. one is about maintaining the coherence and the institutions of the syrian state whether they are ultimately going to be headed or not. so i think that the fate of the sherman act as a bargaining chip that it's seeking to play in ways that help to secure its own larger interests. the same time it's not only about establishing or reasserted control in the syrian state institution but also about asserting moscow's role as it was vertical ward at a time in its relations with the west and the united states in particular. so what the military intervention has done and i
[inaudible] and so it shows not only the syrians but other states in the region that russia is relying on, in particular if they balance against the united states. we have seen this in the relationship that has developed over the last year or so. and egypt is a country that had done very much identified as a pro-western camp. and that includes a lot of the egyptian elite, the united states has turned their back on a country in a time of need. whether the new government has a sense that the united states will bear with it. while egypt is not shipping out out of the united states can't, the fact that it has engaged in a diplomatic overture to moscow,
there has been agreements on military sales and other kinds of corporations. and in doing this russia gains this larger global game and that includes the context beyond the middle east. the russia and syria intervention came shortly after a couple of weeks of finding yet another cease-fire. one that appears to be part of this. the point is that when russia started intervening in a way in
terms of allegedly fighting against the islamic state was as been pushing for a peace agreement. and suddenly the u.s. and allies needed rusher or forced to engage itself on this issue. which made it that much harder for them to focus on russia as an adversary in the context of ukraine relationship for a year and a half. especially after the terrorist attack. in order to go after the people who ultimately could threaten additional terrorist attacks in europe as well as in the united states. these are all much higher
priorities and to take the focus off the ukraine. and from russia's perspective, that has all been good. and so we have given a sense of some of the broader interests that was behind russia's intervention. in terms of the middle east more generally. and in the overall balance between russia and the united states which touches on syria, the rest of the middle east and the ukraine and other issues as well. we will talk about the specifics including the downing of the judge by a turkish airport. they do. >> thank you.
>> thank you for the introduction nonaudit we are glad that you did not start off with the treaty. [laughter] >> that would've taken like -- a long time. but i also want to agree. we are talking about why russia is doing what it is doing. that includes maintaining ideas of sovereignty, restoring this position at one time in the middle east, these questions about the ukraine. perhaps trying to remove some of these pressures and these are all incredibly important.
someone to talk about what russia is trying to do. i want to first focus on the military aspect. and russia has really viewed this as a kind of excuse to truly ramp up the military position. we have seen the russians move in and a lot more military equipment including a submarine moving to the base that they have their on the mediterranean sea and perhaps most importantly anti-aircraft, sort of very near to the turkish border.
but it's a very powerful new system. which makes it now nearly impossible to enter the no-fly zone because it covers much of that area. it also covers the area all the way into turkey into the air force base were both u.s. and turkish military would have been fine to do this on isis. i have covered half of the israeli airspace and a good chunk of syrian airspace. so the kind of excuse that is
upsetting from the russian and government and public opinion the first statement was considered as a reaction. and i kind of understand at that time even the appropriate statements with the company that supports isis. lake issues to be in the import of turkish troops. en to say to make a statement and those are shooting turkish and jets. so everybody is trying to
issue with president putin. but now with the climate summit every be a summit meeting. but it didn't happen with the only high-level meeting and that did not bring any results. but to deal escalate the crisis but i am not sure how far that will continue and talking about turkey and supporting basis that somehow that he doesn't say
during that period. so now we'll see in the future if they can somehow for a commission to resolve that crisis together. >> you all have raised really great points. i want to go back to ask each a question if you talk about how russia tries to accumulate the bargaining chips. and you talk about the russian intervention in syria to engage them in many
>> what is the nature of the game? id the best way to think about it is a game that there are only a handful of players. the system is one that to a lot of us seems somewhat archaic with secretary kerry in particular uses the phrase to engage june to defer century diplomacy with 21st century tactics and that is up a good way to characterize in the sense the 19th century was characterized via handful of great powers as they do lines on the map to dispose
of the smaller territories. this is still largely the way back to russia understands the way it is played and the seed list with the ukraine and middle east with the syrian crisis. if there really is a bargaining chip that it isn't as much about serious been defining the terms of the interaction food will get the squares on the chessboard to line up? so the chinese game is a better analogy. to arrive at the settlement between the u.s. and nine russians does ukraine have a sovereign right?
our position is they can decide this for themselves they are a sovereign country and have the right to pick their alliance system they want to join if that is day the decision or not is not our right direction says now because ultimately what matters is the interest of the great power and nato is a parade and the rules have to be negotiated in the major powers so long term goal is to sit down with united states and europeans that establishes a speedier of influence in europe and you have seen something similar played in the least
to kraft the salomon from syria that allows it to maintain its own interest with the other regional players including the united states and saudi arabia that have to account for the russian equity and interest so to the extent that we engage in net gain although reluctantly, there wasn't much interest to have russia and tough intervention forced our hand to see the u.s. backtrack on the commitments that it made an secretary kerry after his meeting with putin said the u.s. goal was not regime change per se. but to look at the a other
administration officials that said over the last two years it was something quite different in the change is the fact now we are forced on some level to play this game that russia is seeking to play. now in europe is a little different because we are holding a hard-line would never indifferently arguing it doesn't change our commitment to uphold the cease-fire agreement. but of course, the other european powers plays a role as well especially after the paris attacks you see those european players with german
officials, italians who held that the extension of sanctions and others say hold on. we have another more pressing issue. let's not do anything hasty when it comes to moscow or the ukraine they can show some degree of effectiveness >> you answered in part the second question if we can establish what they want. and that the russians will sit down with the united states to hammer out what
will be the new spier of influence back in 1945 when they hammered out who would have what area of influence. that'' that vladimir putin gave and the old kgb guy once the old ways back. but if he wants the great power of russia back and once the status and then fled of your putin trying to correct what was done to their russian of post when he lost that status.
in then with the european colleagues in to do things i did not like in the balkans but now every time you make a decision and think about what russia wants or what they might do. they are a major player and now at the table with ukraine in syria and are involved in all discussions and that is precisely what they want they're interested to reestablish that sphere of influence. and with everything that you do. one thing we have not mentioned is the secondary goal is nato.
orioles drilling equipment like schlumberger one thing though russians did is put sanctions on europe on silly the mislike cheese. it created an entire campaign in the netherlands it was pairs. in day beta big show of large mountains of the belgian she's and the collective reaction is why are they doing that? bear sanctuary in
themselves. all kinds of delicacy's. and for a lot of people there are very easy ways to get it just send it to belarus where they repackage under another label then send to russia. but in a weird way those that could afford to go by that was the creative class porker --. they don't necessarily can go eat the cheese enough fancy restaurant, shows that hurt them? and now we talk about turkish goods that is
another question. you doozy overtures to platitudes to develop russian and agriculture and then there be no little strategic that he sees in the european instances are there countries they are still friendly with that is why it is important that the russians have not banned the turkish women's. -- women -- lemons.
day you have any input? >> but the sanctions that have been imposed on russia those that have highlighted to other members the dark side of the globalization that makes the economy dependent but they can't necessarily control. with the sanctions there has been a real emphasis not only on the counter sanctions to reduce the exposure to new globalization. on stimulating and things
states and europe. and in part to become more self-sufficient so the west and those that used to control russia's economy that is the flip side. so that the russians get used you not to rely on the outside world. >> i should have mentioned this that the russian people were used to. not fully of course, to support ourselves either with the most basic food items.
and egypt. pardon? >> they can go to greece he said. >> they can go to crimea. >> crimea. they are being asked to sacrifice in a way and give up the turkish tomatoes for now. >> about the polish, on this sunday, they talked about the for the first time i was in poland i went to an economy forum and i never remember eating so many apples as once. at the beginning, you know, it was unknown but later a journalist explained to me about
the apples there. a couple things i think is we have to -- i remember in dnc and in 2007, they were making the speech about the foreign policy platform of president obama and blaming romney for breeding russia from the forces. and russia changed so fast. i think part of the problem was, i guess, romney visited poland to make that statement but i think if someone was reading the report, and i think the united states missed that point. what we see is sometimes unpredictable leaders. the unpredictability becomes from so many unpredictable
things. and then we see, you know, because of the structure is difficult to understand foreign policy to understand because of this unpredictability the go-political goals, the cost of russian foreign policy by trying to say what is in putin's mind. they read books about him with the kbg background and they try to figure out this may be the reason that russia is acting a certain way. i think it is causing a lot of speculation and one of the speculations may be the fact that they may be right to show the business of nato. like if maybe both european and ukraine intervention may be a
way to stop nato's membership. to show the business of it it might be aggressive foreign policy toward turkey. and these kind of airstrike violations may be a way to show that nato is never walking us home. that may the policy. the second thing is about syria. the real question you ask at the ging on syria i remember. i am not sure what russia was trying to do. but first they started the attacks and the estimated cost of the attacks was $4 million. and russian foreign policymakers were thinking they determined activity. to leave the proxy war, right? to leave the assistance and get into the israeli-palestine conflict it will have several cost. it is not about the economy
cost. but here, today the cost of the war i think increased to $8 million a day. i am not sure how much this will continue and how much russia can afford this. 8 million doesn't look a lot but to this kind of conflict we see increments and they consider if they spend so much they might say let's go home after a while. because of that, i think we should try to find a solution in an expedited way. they will push the diplomatic solutions and try to find a solution out of this. the economy punishment came and here of course the cultural sector kind of in turkey is worried about this. energy tech said i don't think
there may be any interruption for the energy. there are international agreements and i don't expect any kind of energy cut at this time. and regarding treason, this year turkey got one million less priest because of the retaliation. so the russian started to flow to turkey after what happened in egypt. and it goes on for many russian tourist. a couple months of like russian tourist and during the peak season and it didn't influence that much but you will see, you know, like the next summer is the russian position if russia changes things because in the statement, the conventional statement that is there, the statement that these can be suspended at any moment because of the decision of the executive. this is kind of -- it is still that way an open window for
negotiation and agreement about that. >> okay. well, i will just open it to q&a at this point. i want to take several questions for the sake of time, please. can you wait for the mike? >> last friday, the russian minister of defense stated and i am quoting as much as i can, the islamic state area of influence, he is talking about syria, is expanding. they are looking to seize about 70% of the syrian territory. the number of terrorist amounts to about 60,000 people. then he added there is a threat the actions will be transferred to central asia. this doesn't seem to be about the power of negotiation. they are concerned if this isn't
addressed now they are going to have a problem in central asia. seven months ago, we are in a war of attrition. the israeli press reported that hezbollah has more fighters killed -- who is winning the war of attrition? >> russian goals and maybe we can talk about isis and their goal of isis matches the goal of the united states to counter isis. i wanted to take additional questions before turning to the panel. >> i am a financial analyst.
>> i think you showed there was a lot of concern the center might not hold. i am just wondering -- i am somewhat baffled by putin's reaction. a year ago, they announced the turkish stream which was a high point. then they were hard nosed about getting redemption about the terms for turkey. i wondered if it was the beginning of a strengthening of a relationship? what was the reaction -- you mentioned the ways that russia
and moscow -- how do they react and how do the population of russia react? if you have any insight. fascinating panel and i appreciate it. thank you. >> i think russia has concerns about isis. they reported around a thousand or maybe more russian citizens are concerned -- if you have such concerns part of your -- needs to be the places isis is recruiting. according to reports, they said this anonymous intelligence source of the united states, that 90% of the attacks were
targeted. that showed that they may have serious concerns but they didn't act like they are focus on those concerns. secondally wasn't sure. many people said that is enough. they reduced the prices at that point and delayed the reduction of the prices. so i have some concern about that. i am saying the english language and the russia media. i think the problem is a
disagreement about the turkish regime. they are talking about the instillation of radar systems. serious people are talking about lending of the u.s.-russian passenger jets. some of them took it to 300 years ago. >> let us point to one nato and one strategic divergence over syria. is there a way to pinpoint really where or is this just an isolated incident? >> in the analysis, they said
not to put this in and check it out. it turned out to be turkey on the radar system. it is on the radar system. but the interpretation was like the painting. >> hannah? >> on the question of russia and terrorism i do agree with what was said: if that really was russia's main interest they should be spending 90% of their time bombing actually isis' targets. i think the thing that concerns me is russia is using isis as a convenient political excuse. i am not convinced they care that much about terrorism in their region. they have had it for quite some time and dealt with the pretty
harshly in the past. and vladimer putin's 15-16 year tenure there have been incidents where the crimlen chose to use terroristic incidences as an ex cuse to do something they wanted to do. i am thinking of the series of apartment buildings which was used as the excuse to start the second chechen war. i am thinking of the terrorist attack on beth lawn in i think 2003 which was an excuse for putin to accomplish something domestically which was remove the ability of the people of russia to directly result governors. there are other terrorist instances or even tragedies like the sinking of a submarine in 2001 and then clamps down on the
media inside russia. he has been in depth at not letting a crisis go to waste. i am not convinced by the line they really truly do care. if they didn't care they would not allow saudi arabia to build gigantic mosques or allow the chech chechens to study in saudi arabia but that kind of stuff still continues. on the tartar reaction to the shoot down there really wasn't much of one other than a fear it would be put back on them. it is important to note there are two different versions of tartar. there are the tartars in mainland russia and the crimea tartars that speaking another language. i am talking only about the
crimea tartars and their only reaction was to be concerned it would come back on them as it has a little bit. and i will stop there. >> thank you. >> okay. on islamic states: so i do thing russia has a real concern about the potential for blow back both in central asia and the caucus within russia itself. i also think their analysis of the problem is a little different. we talk about the islamic state as the problem and we talk a lot about moderate rebels in syria. the russian position generally has been there is no such thing as a lottery rebel. after the kerry meeting that might be changing because there has been the formation of this rebel alliance with saudi arabia help and there is question about, you know, who the russians are going to be willing to engage.
>> starting to sound like star wars there. >> i haven't seen it yet. but in general, as it was said, the targeting inside syria has focused primarily on non-isis forces which impose the most threat to the assad regime. so for the russians this is not about isis per se. as far as central asia goes, yes, there is a problem. there are a couple thousands russian citizens fighting in syria and several thousands central asians fighting in syria who traveled to russia as migrant workers before going to the middle east. you think at some point they will go home but something you hear from well placed sensible russians is it better if these people go to syria because then
we can blow them up over there. i am sure that is true to some extent but you will not blow all of them up or prevent them all from coming home. but the sources of radicalization in a lot of these places is internal. you have militant groups, opposition groups, that are generated by the lack of political, social and economic rights they face in these countries. you have the islamic group in the middle east who has been fighting to put them out of their place. recently they pledged allegeance sooisis and that is not because of anything going on in syria but because they see isis' brand as potent and it is a way to further their own militant ambitions close to home. so yes, russia is concerned
about the spread of extremism and terrorism but it is not what is on the ground in syria only. there is a larger context. on energy, in the eastern mediterranean, i haven't been following this too closely, but from a power stand point the securing of a russian facility is significant in that one, you know, i think this is one of the key equities russia is going to face. the base went from a small repair shed that didn't host anything or have anything significant to something that does. it is heavily armed. some here are worried about the
denial weaponry that would make the eastern mediterranean a no-go zone for nato naval forces. there is a go-political context here and i don't know much about the energy dimension to say much. except on the turk stream, this has been a troubled project for a long time. with the decline in energy prices it would never make sense economically but now the economics make even less sense. and talking to the energy people this project was years behind schedule so the announcement about the cancelation was tied to deteriation. but the project was years behind schedule and not going to be launched on time anyway. >> we will take two more
questions. yes? >> is there a sense of -- from the media there is a potential -- at the same time they are posturing a bit and saying we can protect the homeland. so there is a test of a little more sacrifice and deal with the tensions as setbacks, tension from europe and afar. but the russian leaders in other situations are saying we are fighting against isis but we had a lot of others that did this a couple years ago. maybe if we adopt this situation we can fix the model and fight against this. so there is not much explanation but there is more action and that is getting some help.
>> this is good question. all right. on the question about do you think that the russians think they are punching above their weight. i think they are aware of what their capabilities are and are not. in certain areas they are crunching above their weight but in other areas they have advanced capabilities. the brand new caliber missiles they are using are quite advance. the planes, however, are a serious concern. that said there was just a long article in the new york time we are flying b-52's from the 1960s
still. they went through a military modernization program that jeff knows more about than i do. but they did work trying to make their force professionally. they are not there but generally any of the people they are sending to syria are on a contract and professional soldiers and moving in the direction of having a more professional military. in some areas they certainly are. in others, they are actually quite advanced. they made large strides since the georgia war which was in a way the kind of war that exposed a lot of their weaknesses and they spent the next six years working on it. what are they trying to achieve? i think we would all like to know that. there is never one goal. there is going to be several different goals. and the extent to which they
achieve one or several of them is going to determine whether or not they are going to consider themselves successful. to my mind at the end of the day the major goal is the restoration of russia as a respected, by which i mean feared, international power alongside the united states, china and whomever else perhaps europe, the saudi arabians, and india. that is what russia wants in my mind. and everything else to me is just a matter of getting there. i am sure the others have different opinions. >> thank you. >> okay. to your question yes, this is an older plane but the russians assumed they would be operating over territory where there was not a threat to that plane. right? they didn't assume the rebels had