Calling President Barack Obama's actions against Syria "misconceived" and "badly calculated," President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says the Russian proposal "gets us off the hook."
Appearing on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on Sunday Brzezinski and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger agreed that the United States and Russia share a common interest in avoiding American military action in the Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin saw a chance to "get into step with us by easing an immediate American difficulty, but solving a common problem," Kissinger said.
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The Russians are avoiding something they would not like to see happen in the region, Brzezinski said. "We are prevented from doing something that would be equally damaging to the region, but worse, probably, for us."
Russia seized on an off-hand comment by Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday that Syria could avoid a U.S. missile attack by turning all its chemical weapons over to international authorities and has been trying to broker the deal.
Putin's biggest fear with Syria, Kissinger said, is that it would lead to a radicalization of the region. Putin worries about increasingly hostile radical Muslims in the Caucasus who resent Russian involvement in the region.
Putin also grabbed an opportunity to diminish America's standing as preeminent in the region, Brzezinski added. "Our hegemony in the region is declining," he said, "but we're still the main player."
"The president has said Assad must go without having a strategy to make him go," Brzezinski said. "And we have now seen the consequences of that."
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