Last updateWed, 06 Dec 2017 12pm


Two Journalists Dead, Now ISIS Threatens Russia

What's is Russia's Next Move?

Untitled2In wake of the beheadings of two American journalists by the radical Islamist group, ISIS, also known as the Islamic State or ISIL,- news outlets from around the country and even the world have been covering America's response, led by President Barrack Obama, to quell the new threat. With all the talk of President Obama's handling of the situation, ISIS has also challenged a familiar American foe, Vladimir Putin, and Russia.

According to CBS Washington D.C. local, on August 31 saying, "Vladimir Putin, these are the Russian planes that you sent to Bashar. Allah willing, we will take them back to your own turf, and liberate Chechnya and the Caucasus, Allah willing. Your throne is being threatened by us."

ISIS's threat to Russia is especially interesting considering the recent tension between American President Barrack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russian aggression in the Ukraine. In this case, will the enemy of our enemy be our friend?

With the Cold War aside, the United States and Russia have Disagreed on multiple issues in recent years. One example that Dr. Thomas Pearson, who is a professor of history and anthropology and outgoing provost at, referenced the Syrian conflict in 2011. While Obama wanted to force Syrian President Bashar Assad out of office and arm Syrian rebel forces for human rights violations committed against Syrian citizens. Putin disagreed and thought that ousting Assad would contribute to lack of stability. Pearson also added that the U.S. has always had a very pro-Israel stance in the Middle East while Russia has historically had ties to anti-Israel dictators from countries such as Egypt and Iran.

The most recent tension between the U.S. and Russia is because of Putin's aggression in the Ukraine. Many say that he is trying to reassert Russia as a world power like they were during the days of the Soviet Union.

Adjunct of Political Science at Dr. Charles Cotton says that "there is definitely a power play."

He said that Putin is a very charismatic figure in Russia which is a country that has historically had "strong leadership" and wants to restore the "larger than life figure." Cotton also added that Putin would like to "reassert Russian Dominance in Eastern Europe." Dr. Pearson added that he believes that Putin would like to establish respect for Russia as a world power and said that "the more he keeps people guessing, the stronger he appears."

Despite the Ukraine issue still being unresolved, Russia and the U.S. still have seemed to find a common enemy in ISIS. According to the British news outlet "The Guardian", on Monday, September 15, there was a conference in Paris where leader and diplomats from over 30 counties pledged to use "whatever means necessary" to stop the global threat of ISIS.

Of these counties, both the United States and Russia were included. With America still taking charge of the situation, France has hopped on board to support airstrikes and Britain is moving closer to military action. It will be interesting to see what Putin and the Russian's do.

Senior Tyler Vandegrift said that Russia "definitely has an interest in getting involved, although there is obviously tension between them and the U.S." Professor Cotton said that Russian involvement would probably "complicate things but they will definitely be watching closely." Pearson said "Russia has historical political and economic reasons for being involved" and that the U.S. and Russian governments "should be on the same page."

Professor Pearson pointed out that he believes Russian governments have typically tried to "separate themselves from the west although they have historically been a protector of Christian nations." Cotton said that ISIS has the same hatred towards Russia than towards the U.S. because they both stand against their extremist beliefs. Pearson added that "both the U.S. and Russia are threats to ISIS." However he also noted that the U.S. has "spurned away" Russian decisions in the past so it should be interesting to see whether the fight against ISIS will help U.S. and Russian relations or the tension will continue.


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