September 25, 2015

CNAS Press Note: The Obama-Putin Meeting at UNGA

Washington, September 25 – In advance of President Obama’s meeting with Russian President Putin on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting Monday, Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Strategy and Statecraft Program Director Julianne Smith and CNAS Associate Fellow Jacob Stokes have written a new press note, “The Obama-Putin Meeting at UNGA.”
The full press note is below:
President Obama will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. While the meeting comes at Putin’s request, expectations for any major breakthroughs should be low. But meeting with Putin is the right decision for President Obama given Russia’s role in a number of regional conflicts. The conflict in Ukraine, dormant for now but likely to flare up again soon, will be high on the agenda. Here, Obama will have to reiterate the administration’s firm stance against Russian aggression, both in terms of the fighting inside Ukraine and Russia’s reckless provocations in other parts of Europe. Obama should remind Putin about the additional tools the West has at its disposal, assuming Russia fails to implement the Minsk Protocol by the end of this calendar year. President Obama should not hesitate to mention the possibility of delisting the Russian oil giant Rosneft from U.S. and European stock exchanges and adding additional layers of sanctions. President Obama should also put Putin on notice that the NATO allies are looking at new ways to enhance deterrence across Central and Eastern Europe.
Equally important, the meeting will provide an opportunity for the two presidents to discuss their goals in Syria, particularly in light of the recent Russian deployment of military assets near Latakia and Tartus. Obama will need to get clarity on Russian objectives vis-à -vis ISIS and repeat Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s message about the importance of deconflicting future military operations inside Syria. But Obama will also need to make sure Putin understands that Washington views Assad’s departure as a non-negotiable part of any negotiated settlement. Finally, the Russians should leave the meeting with the understanding that this particular meeting in no way represents a softening of the U.S. position on Ukraine.


  • Jacob Stokes

    Senior Fellow, Indo-Pacific Security Program

    Jacob Stokes is a Senior Fellow for the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS, where his work focuses on U.S.-China relations, Chinese foreign and military policy, East Asian ...

  • Julianne Smith

    Former Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    Julianne (“Julie”) Smith is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy, where she coedits “Shadow Government.” She is also a senior advisor at WestExec Advisors, an adjunct senio...