The Russian-US relationship is at an “all-time tense,” (yes, I just coined that phrase), since the Cold War. CNN recently published an opinion article citing four “ways Russia is outplaying the West via Syria.”

  1. Russia is taunting Turkey, which forces NATO to go to war for its least reliable member or break the alliance. Basically a lose-lose situation.
  2. Russia is courting the Syrian Kurds, “America’s most effective on-the-ground allies against ISIS.”
  3. “While Putin has claimed that Russia’s airstrikes in Syria are part of a strategy against ISIS or other terrorist groups, his real aim is to save Assad. To do so, Russia and Assad are targeting mostly non-ISIS groups, and they are bombing with little concern for civilian populations, hoping to leave the West with a choice between Assad and ISIS. Another lose-lose situation.”
  4. “Russia, by helping create more refugees from Syria, is helping divide Europe against itself. The weakening of Europe is a loss for the United States and a gain for Russia.”

Russia has bullied its way into obtaining more intelligence than was agreed to in the 1992 Open Skies treaty signed by Russia, the US, and 32 other countries. Where they used to fly over missile silos, bunkers, and bomber fields, in recent years they “have developed a wandering eye, … and now fly more routinely over some of the country’s most important infrastructure.”  Now the US does essentially the same thing, only with satellites instead of planes. But now, Russia is steadily restricting where American treaty surveillance planes can fly. Simultaneously, Russia is requesting permission to use better camera technology.

The US is obviously between a rock and a hard place. What do you think can be done?