Ukraine And Russia At Gunpoint; The US Eyes Syria

Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s leader meet. We’ll look at Russia and the high voltage chess game over Ukraine. Plus, we look at potential US military strikes in Syria and Iraq.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, looks at them, prior to their talks after after posing for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, looks at them, prior to their talks after after posing for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP)

Ukraine’s president sat down with Vladimir Putin yesterday, and was not shy about putting Russia’s tensions with Ukraine in the most dramatic terms.  The fate of Europe and the fate of the world are being decided here, he said.  But not quickly.  Ukraine blasting separatists in the east.  Separatists parading, abusing Ukrainian POWs in public.  Russian troops captured inside Ukraine.  War talk.  And the biggest East-West crisis since the Cold War.  This hour On Point:  the dangerous chess game over Ukraine.  Plus – we look at the US lining up its bomb sights on ISIS in Syria.

– Tom Ashbrook


Alan Cullison, Moscow correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. (@AlanCullison)

Angela Stent, director of the center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Author of “The Limits of Partnership: US -Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century.” (@AngelaStent)

John Mearsheimer, co-director of the program on international security policy at the University of Chicago and professor of political science. Author of “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics,” “Why Leaders Lie” and “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Putin Warns on Ukraine Pursuing Closer Ties With West — “Mr. Putin, however, stressed trade issues, highlighting the dangers he said Russia faces if Ukraine pursues closer ties to the West. Since the onset of the crisis, Mr. Putin has accused the West of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, and trying to spoil its relations with Moscow by luring it into an association agreement. ”

BBC News: Ukraine crisis: ‘Column from Russia’ crosses border — “Ukrainian sources earlier said the armoured vehicles had crossed the border bearing symbols of the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic. Officials said 10 tanks and two armoured personnel carriers were in the column although other reports said the number of vehicles was as high as 50. Mariupol, a major port on the Azov Sea, is in the hands of Ukrainian government forces, who ousted rebels from the city in June after weeks of fighting.”

New York Times: Clouding Talks, Ukraine Says It Captured Russian Troops — “Ukraine released video clips on Tuesday of what it said were captured Russian soldiers, raising tensions as President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia met in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, with his Ukrainian counterpart, President Petro O. Poroshenko. In earlier peace talks between lower-ranking officials, Moscow’s position on its role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine has prevented discussion of what Ukrainian officials regard as the key to stopping the conflict: a Russian willingness to acknowledge, and halt, its support for rebels in the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk.”

Weighing The US Ground Game In Syria

Dion Nissenbaum, national security reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@DionNissenbaum)

Faysal Itani, fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council. (@faysalitani)

The Guardian: US launches reconnaissance flights over Syria — “Obama has been reluctant to take military action in Syria, but the flights are being seen as laying the groundwork for extending US air strikes against Islamic State militants (Isis) into the group’s stronghold of Raqqa in north-eastern Syria, where it has been leading the fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in a civil war that has killed almost 200,000 people.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Oct 13, 2015
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)

Russia’s big power play in Syria, the US response, and where this could go.

Oct 13, 2015
The bare landscape of Crimea, Ukraine, offers little protection in warfare, and German infantrymen hug the ground to escape enemy fire, Jan. 7, 1942.  (AP)

We’ll talk with historian Tim Snyder, who sees resource wars behind past genocides and says climate change now raises the danger again.

Oct 12, 2015
A portion of the cover of Larissa MacFarquhar's new book, "Strangers Drowning." (Penguin Press / Courtesy The Publishers)

An extreme commitment to others. Larissa MacFarquhar joins us with stories of those who sacrifice almost everything to do good.

Oct 12, 2015
Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman talks on his phone outside the newly constructed jail as prisoners are transferred into the facility in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP)

Step one in sentencing reform: 6,000 federal prisoners will go free at the end of this month. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Meet The Interns, Fall 2015
Friday, Oct 9, 2015

Meet our Fall 2015 interns! (Better late than never, right?)

More »
Our Week In The Web: October 9, 2015
Friday, Oct 9, 2015


More »
Rep. Daniel Webster: ‘I’m Gonna Sell This Message’
Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his retirement and resignation from his position last month, it surprised both his Party and the Washington political establishment.

More »