FROM Mark Galeotti
Are Russian Airstrikes in Syria a Challenge to the United States? Russia reportedly gave the US less than an hour's notice of airstrikes today near the city of Homs in Western Syria. They appear designed to shore up the government of Bashar al-Assad. Secretary of State John Kerry told the UN Security Council that US will continue its bombing to the Islamic State. Will Russian airstrikes pose a challenge to the US?
Russia Opposition Leader Given Suspended Sentence, Brother Arrested A Moscow court today convicted the anti-corruption crusader and opposition leader Aleksei Navalny of criminal fraud charges. The court suspended his sentence but in a surprise move ordered his brother, who was also charged, to serve three and a half years. The case is widely seen as political retribution by President Putin on the former postal-worker turned activist. Joining us from Moscow is Mark Galleotti, a security expert at New York University's Center for Global Affairs.
Are the US and Russia Fighting a New Cold War? When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, President Obama wanted to “re-set” relations with Russia. How times have changed. Her successor, John Kerry says, “the Cold War was easy compared to where we are today.” Russian aircraft — including strategic bombers — flew so close to the boundaries of European countries last week that NATO sent up intercepting aircraft. It’s Vladimir Putin’s latest challenge since he annexed Crimea and encouraged Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Putin is playing tough despite a weak hand. One available option for the US and the West -- go after the “dirty money.”
The Last Stand for Pro-Russian Forces in Eastern Ukraine? A re-vitalized Ukrainian Army is on the march against pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukrainian cities. Russian President Putin has not responded to calls for help from rebels he was encouraging just a few weeks ago. Why not? Is protracted urban warfare inevitable? Is there any prospect for peace? After re-taking Sloviansk in the eastern part of his country this weekend, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said pro-Russian rebels were making their “last stand.” But the rebels show no signs of making it easy: they’re concentrating their forces in Donetsk, and they’ve blown up three bridges leading into that city of one million people.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.