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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Carter: Russia 'Way Off Track' in Syria

by VOA News November 07, 2015

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says Russia is 'way off track' in its involvement in Syria.

Carter said Saturday at the Reagan National Defense Forum, named for the late U.S. president, that Russian President Vladimir Putin has not considered his Syrian strategy very thoroughly.

'Russia is throwing gasoline on an already dangerous fire, prolonging a civil war that fuels the very extremism Russia claims to oppose,' he said.

Carter said the Russians are not fighting Islamic State as they said they would, and are backing President Bashar al-Assad instead of working for a political transition.

But if the U.S., and Russia can cooperate on matters of mutual interest, such as curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions, Carter said it is possible Russia may play a constructive role in ending the Syrian civil war.

The secretary also told the forum that the U.S. is taking a page out of the Reagan Cold War playbook by taking a 'strong and balanced' approach to deter Moscow's aggression in Syria and Ukraine and against the Baltics.

Carter said those steps include modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, updating operational plans for deterrence and defense, and investing in technologies that he said are 'most relevant to Russian provocations.'

They include a new long-range bomber, lasers, new systems for electronic warfare and cyberspace, and 'a few surprising ones' that Carter said he could not talk about at this time.

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