How Russia Might Respond to an American Strike in Syria

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"My guess is he and Obama will recommit to a Geneva II process as the best face-saving solution," Matt Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, told ABC News, referring to the long-delayed U.S. and Russian efforts to set up an international peace conference.

Step up cooperation with Iran, or block the U.S. elsewhere like Afghanistan

Again, it's not really in Russia's interest to do so geopolitically, which means they likely won't do it. Russia is already concerned about NATO's pullout in Afghanistan, so they have reasons to continue helping there. Russia has no incentive to start helping Iran either. Just this week, amid all the disagreements over Syria, it was announced that the advanced S-300 air defense system that Russia sold to Iran several years ago and never delivered has already been dismantled and recycled.

The bigger concern for Putin may be looking weak at home, unable to stop the Americans. It all comes just as the world spotlight will shine on Russia when it hosts the G20 summit. But, in the end he may come out on top.

"In the longer term, since the strike is not likely to accomplish anything, and the U.S. won't put troops on the ground, Putin will look better for having opposed it," Rojansky said.

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