Speaking to Sputnik, Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute gives his impressions of the downing of a Russian bomber over Syria.
"This is very serious," he said.
In part, Turkey’s attack on a Russian plane targeting the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group has highlighted Ankara’s own role of fomenting those radical groups.
"…Turkey has allowed itself to become a super-hotbed for ISIS and other jihadists to go back and forth from Syria into Turkey. We have pretty good evidence that ISIS and other extremists have been resupplied infinitely, possibly with weapons from Libya, another great US success story – and they have been striking inside Syria with that," McAdams said.
"So, certainly if you want criminal activity, Turkey is an accomplice to the crime at the very least."
McAdams also his own thoughts on why the Turkish government would risk such provocative action.
"One question is would [Turkish President] Erdogan do this without US permission, without US support…" he asks. "Even if this Russian jet wandered into Syrian airspace…how is it that the Turkish F-16s scrambled, met their target and [took] out their target in a matter of seconds, and how is it that the Russian plane crashed in Syria itself?"
In light of the strong reaction from the Kremlin, McAdams also sees NATO backing away from potential conflict.
"I find it interesting that the NATO General Jens Stoltenberg all of a sudden toned his rhetoric down about 12 notches. I think he realizes that things have just gotten real," he said. "He’s clearly eager to not make this a Russia-NATO conflict, because the implications for that are tremendous."
The downing of the bomber will also likely end any further discussion of implementing a "safe zone" along the Turkey-Syria border.
"The US and Turks have been trying to set this up for a long time. I think that is over."
The reports of so-called “moderate” rebel groups shooting at the pilots as they drifted in parachutes toward the ground – an act which many would consider a war crime – also highlight the problems of Western strategies in supporting those groups.
"…The whole idea that these people are moderates is insane," McAdams said. "Just this week, the US was considering inviting al-Qaeda’s affiliate Ahrar ash-Sham to attend the talks, as well. So, 14 years after al-Qaeda attacked the US on 9/11, the US is talking about bringing an al-Qaeda affiliate in as a moderate opposition in Syria."
Given Turkey’s place in NATO, many have already predicted that one of the most significant effects of the incident may be the thaw in relations between Russia and the West – a relationship that was showing signs of warming following the terrorist attacks in Paris and the bombing of Metrojet flight 9268.
But as McAdams points out, the United States had remained resistant to cooperation with Russia even before Tuesday’s events.
"…The US is definitely in a bind because Russia was seen as the only effective force that was fighting ISIS. The US had a year and had very, very little effect on ISIS, and yet after a month everyone in the world has seen the damage that Russia did."