Ignoring the threat of ISIS, Russia has launched air strikes against US backed rebels in Syria and told the US to "get out." The attacks have come within 24 hours of Vladimir Putin’s agreeing with Barack Obama at the UN to avoid direct conflict in the country. Ignoring the ISIS positions Putin claimed that the Russian Air Force had been sent to Syria to attack, two Russian bombers instead struck the positions of moderate anti-Assad forces near Holms.

Russia is reacting to the collapse of its Middle East strategy by throwing support behind the tottering regime of its ally, Bashir Al Assad in Syria in reaction to the fact that the US and allied nuclear arms treaty with Iran has seriously damaged its influence in that country and is expected to lead to a further decline in crude oil prices as Iranian oil begins to once again be sold on the open market. Russia’s ability to sustain its economy and prevent further devaluation of the ruble requires that oil prices be more than 50% greater than they are at this time, and a further decline will inevitably bring about the most serious economic crisis in that country since the fall of the Soviet Union, when the costs of Russia’s Afghan war caused such hardships that the population rebelled.

It should be noted that Japan went to war against the United States unexpectedly after its oil supplies were cut off by the freezing of Japanese assets in the US on July 26, 1941. While the Russian situation is not exactly comparable, Mr. Putin’s duplicity is, and should be taken as a serious warning by the US. He has taken a dangerous step, and it must therefore be assumed that he is willing to take more.

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