09/29/2015 10:31 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Putin At Center Stage Again - American Dilemma


Co-authored by William Witenberg a contemporary artist focused on abstract painting

Both President Obama and President Putin addressed the tragic problems in Syria during their speeches at the United Nations. While they both want to destroy ISIS the difference in their views of how to deal with the failing nation of Syria and the horrors of ISIS is clear. President Obama wants to have President Assad removed and a "managed transition" of Syria to a democratic country. President Putin rejects the idea of removing Assad and calls for the reverse. He specifically asked the West to support Assad, and said it was an "enormous mistake" to try removing him.

It is clear that since President Obama drew a line warning President al-Assad of Syria not to use chemical weapons, and Assad crossed the line without any consequences, the situation in Syria has only degenerated. The American led coalition bombing of ISIS has not been effective, mass migration out of Syria into Europe continues to cause instability in the region, and the US military program to train and arm Syrian rebels turned out to be a disaster.

In contrast to the failing American military program to train "moderate" Syrian rebels; Putin has sent missiles, tanks and airforce into Syria, as well as signed an intelligence sharing agreement regarding ISIS with Syria, Iran and Iraq. Putin's argument is that ISIS is the enemy of all and a global threat, and that the United Nations should support the government of Syria in its fight against ISIS.

Since both Obama and Putin agree that ISIS must be destroyed it seems that the question of whether Assad should be supported or removed should not stop Russia and America from jointly fighting against ISIS. Both Putin and Obama seem to agree on the goal, and it is hard to understand with all the sorrow and pain ISIS has caused, that a debate about Assad should stand in the way of an effective elimination of ISIS. Assad is a ruthless dictator, but without a doubt he is a strong leader. At the moment It is impossible to know if he was removed from power who would replace him. In this volatile time it might be wiser to focus on the real enemy, ISIS, instead of bringing more instability by removing Assad.

The world needs both Putin and Obama to come up with a way to join forces to stop ISIS now. The issue of Assad's future should not stand in the way of stopping the second holocaust. It is up to both Putin and Obama to lead the world in ending the ISIS nightmare. If they are unable to come to a solution together it only benefits ISIS.