In a preview of this Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview with Barack Obama, CBS’ Steve Kroft challenged the president on the threat posed by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“A year ago, when we did this interview, there was some saber-rattling between the United States and Russia on the Ukrainian border,” Kroft noted. “Now it’s also going on in Syria. You said a year ago that the United States, America leads, that we are the indispensable nation. Mr. Putin seems to be challenging that leadership.”
“In what way?” asked Obama. “Let’s think about this.”
“Well, he has moved troops into Syria, for one. He’s got people on the ground. Two, the Russians are conducting military operations in the Middle East for the first time since World War II, bombing the people that we are supporting.”
“So that’s leading, Steve?” Obama pushed back. “…When I came into office, Ukraine was governed by a corrupt ruler who was a stooge of Mr. Putin. Syria was Russia’s only ally in the region.”
“And today, rather than being able to count on their support and maintain the base they had in Syria– which they’ve had for a long time– Mr. Putin now is devoting his own troops, his own military just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally.”
“He’s challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He’s challenging your leadership,” Kroft responded.
“No no no, Steve,” Obama pushed back. “I’ve got to tell you; if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we’ve got a different definition of leadership.”
Watch above, via CBS.
[Image via screengrab]
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