In his meeting with President Obama on Monday, Vladmir Putin may press for outright capitulation to the Russian position on Syria. The Times of London reports:
In an interview with the CBS programme 60 Minutes, which is due to be broadcast on Sunday, the Russian president said he was “trying to save the Assad administration” and fight terrorism.
When asked whether Russian military intervention was designed to “rescue” Assad, Mr Putin confirmed: “Well, you’re right. And it’s my deep belief that any actions to the contrary – in order to destroy the legitimate government – will create a situation which you can witness now in the other countries of the region or in other regions, for instance in Libya, where all the state institutions are disintegrated.
“We see a similar situation in Iraq. And there is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism, but at the same time urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform.”
CBS has released some footage in advance:
We noted earlier that, despite the West Wing’s suggestions to the press that Putin was eagerly seeking the meeting, President Obama is in fact the one who needs the sit-down, as well as Russia’s help in taking the Syria crisis off his hands. At that time, it seemed Russia might give Obama a way out that saved some face. Now, it looks like Putin is seeking the serial humiliation of the sitting U.S. administration.
The question is: Will the president cave again?