Background Briefing with Ian Masters

With Putin visiting Saudi Arabia today receiving a lavish reception, we look further into Russia’s growing influence in the Middle East as Trump gives away the store to Putin. Juan Cole, a professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan and the author of the blog, Informed Comment at, joins us to discuss how, after being abandoned by Trump just as the Kurds were, the Saudis have turned to Putin to broker a deal with Iran after Iran rained down missiles on their big oil facility and the U.S. did not come to their rescue after buying untold billions of U.S. weapons. While past mistakes like the invasion of Iraq were bad enough, the current reckless and treacherous nature of Trump’s unfettered actions find many wondering whether we have a president who does not act in America’s interest but rather for personal gain, electoral advantage and possibly under the duress of blackmail from Putin and/or Erdogan.