The situation could become even worse if terrorists get access to nuclear weapons. This prospect is not a farfetched one, Lewis noted in his analysis of a recent article by Henry Kissinger. Putin's remark, therefore, "isn't just braggadocio," he observed.
The Russian leader, according to the expert, has "strategic clarity" and his campaign in Syria has a clear goal, counterterrorism.
"Putin has been watching jihadist forces on his southern border come closer and closer to nuclear weapons. … Imagine thousands of suicidal fanatics on our southern border, and you get the picture as seen from Moscow," he stated.
Lewis believes that there is only one way to avoid the catastrophic scenario of a hot nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Washington and Moscow have to cooperate.
"A practical alliance of the West with Russia might save the world," he concluded.