The United States should threaten to retaliate if Russia does not stop attacking U.S. assets in Syria, former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in a Financial Times op-ed published Sunday, urging “strategic boldness,” with American credibility in the Middle East and the region itself at stake.

Moscow’s apparent decision to strike non-Islamic State targets and those of Syrian rebels backed by the Central Intelligence Agency “at best” reflects “Russian military incompetence,” and worst, “evidence of a dangerous desire to highlight American political impotence,” wrote Brzezinski, the national security adviser for former President Jimmy Carter and a strong supporter of current President Barack Obama.

And if Russia continues to pursue non-ISIL targets, the U.S. should retaliate, he added.

“In these rapidly unfolding circumstances the U.S. has only one real option if it is to protect its wider stakes in the region: to convey to Moscow the demand that it cease and desist from military actions that directly affect American assets,” he said.

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