It’s not just ISIS that we need to worry about, but also Russia, North Korea, and the rise of Iran.
Newly minted CIA Director Mike Pompeo explored the long-term threats to U.S. interests this week during an hour-long interview at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.
It’s still quite unclear how the Trump administration plans to divert from the previous administration’s approach in Syria. The Obama administration prioritized the defeat of ISIS while putting many of the long-term regional threats to the United States on the back burner.
The director of America’s premier intelligence agency offered insight into the regional threats that occupy his mind during his long days at Langley. Director Pompeo, a former Republican congressman, emphasized that the new administration is keeping a watchful eye on the adversarial regimes in Russia and Iran.
In Pompeo’s analysis, Russia’s “intention” was to continue to embed itself into Syria. Russia plans on making a permanent play in the country, hoping to install a warm-water naval port that can help Moscow better pursue its global interests, he explained. And if Russia expands into Syria, that will make American policymakers’ lives much more difficult.
Russian involvement in Syria on the side of the Assad regime (along with Iran and Hezbollah) “fundamentally changed the landscape” of the Islamic civil war there, Pompeo said to the forum. The CIA director alleged that former President Barack Obama had essentially “invited the Russians in,” which caused an even more inflamed sectarian environment.