Bob's Blog: Violence in Ukraine and Syria; Governors descend on Washington; The latest on 2016

(CBS News) – Violence rocked Eastern Europe and the Middle East this week, as a deadly uprising broke out in Kiev, Ukraine, and Bashar al-Assad continued his assault on the rebel groups determined to overthrow his regime. Sec. Kerry, traveling to Indonesia and the United Arab Emriates, also stepped up his criticism of the Syrian government’s hard-line tactics and its tendency to target civilians. In Kiev, a small but growing group of determined protesters seized control of the city’s central square, hurling makeshift explosives and exchanging deadly fire with police forces.

Sunday on Face the Nation, we’ll hear first from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s policy on Russia and Ukraine. Sen. McCain spoke with us from Kiev this past December. At that time, the country was erupting in protests against a government many citizens see as beholden to Russia and its own Soviet roots, a view that has also sparked the violent protests this week. We’ll ask the senator about his thoughts on the latest developments and his reproach of Obama’s foreign policy in the region.

We’ll also hear from Margaret Brennan, CBS News’ State Department Correspondent, to discuss the implications of the recent violence, as well as what role the United States should play – if any – in these conflicts. Also joining us to discuss this week’s overseas unrest is Bobby Ghosh, Time Magazine’s World Editor.

In my view, this is one of those cases where there’s not a great deal that the United States can do. If we intervene militarily, it would be almost like declaring war on Russia, and I think there are not many people that think that would be a wise course of action. This is extremely difficult.

What’s interesting is that the Ukrainian people want closer ties with Europe and the West, and their leadership wants them to stick with Russia. And, of course, the Russians are pushing them to stick with Russia, through a combination of diplomacy and financial incentives. Let’s just hope that they can work it out, and we can play a role as mediators.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, America’s governors are gathering for their annual winter meeting. We’ll have Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) and Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) in our studio to take on a range of issues – from presidential prospects in 2016, the ongoing debate over Obamacare, and the latest on the Bridgegate scandal surrounding Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ). 

Plus, as always, we’ve assembled an all-star political panel to discuss this week’s news. Joining us are Jonathan Martin, national political correspondent for The New York Times, Dan Balz, chief correspondent for The Washington Post, Amy Walter, national editor of The Cook Political Report, and our CBS News political director John Dickerson.



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