President Obama is pushing back against the idea that he’s been outmaneuvered in Syria by Russian President Vladimir Putin since the two met at the United Nations on Monday.
Obama appeared frustrated by the suggestion during a press conference this afternoon, dismissing it as a notion only talked about in the Washington D.C.
“Sometimes the conversation here in the Beltway differs from the conversation internationally,” Obama responded.
Obama accused Putin of acting in Syria “out of weakness,” repeatedly referring to Russia’s weakening economy. He also compared his coalition to act against ISIS in Syria to Putin’s unilateral decision to prop up Assad.
“Iran and Assad make up Mr. Putin’s coalition at the moment,” he said. “The rest of the world makes up ours.”
He repeatedly assured reporters that he was “very clear” with Putin about where America stood on Syria, reminding him that his attempts to prop up a dictator like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were doomed to fail.
He ridiculed critics for treating his relationship with Putin as a game he was losing on the world stage.
“This is not some, you know, super power chess board contest and anybody who frames it in that way isn’t paying very close attention to what’s been happening on the chess board,” he said.
Obama also denounced critics for offering “mumbo-jumbo” and “half baked ideas” in response to his reluctance to act in Syria.
“We’re not going to make Syria a proxy war between the United States and Russia,” he insisted, vowing to continue American military effort to degrade Islamic State terrorists in Syria.