The United States’ entrance into Syria has created a lot of tension with Russia and has already led to many squabbles — even hints that threaten war. Is there a point? What interests does the United States have in Syria? The Syrian civil war has seen the deaths of many people. The United States is a gentle giant and likes to take the moral high ground. It’s conceivable that the U.S. eventually wants to stop the killing and help the natives remain home instead of becoming refugees. That’s a good thing. Creating a safe country that can take back its people helps support further United States interests and avoids draining much-needed resources. This is a logical plan. It is also in the best interests of the United States to eliminate ISIS. Syria has become a hub for ISIS. As a consequence, ISIS seems to be the main reason for continued American involvement. Whatever the reason, any progress in Syria has been slow and costly.

Initially, Russian involvement seemed good. But now, Russia has become a huge hindrance for the United States’ plan of action against Assad and ISIS in Syria. Now it leaves us wondering: Why doesn’t the United States take stronger action anyway? A war between the United States and Russia would become one of the worst wars to date. The Russians have some shady friends. This week, an Iranian drone was shot down by the United States, and this has Russia yelling “Foul!” for its friends. Iran-Russia relations date back many years, and Russia is using that relationship, along with a bit of military assistance in Syria, to gain leverage against the United States. Russia has threatened retaliation over this drone incident.

Can the United States work around Russia, deal with the ISIS threat, and manage to get Assad’s group out of power? Maybe. It’s not all bad on the Syrian front: Air strikes by United States and coalition forces have managed to take out ISIS targets. This includes chief cleric Turk al-Bin’ali, who’s been known to incite violence along with being a key recruiter. So, while this may prove that the United States in making some progress in Syria, ISIS is ruthless, and there are other scouts within the organization.

The best way to destroy ISIS is to act quickly and decisively — take out large numbers of their forces and keep pressing until they are no longer a threat. Small attacks here and there allow them to recover, nullifying any progress. Russian interference and Syria’s fluctuation creates a challenge by slowing down the process, complicating the battlefield picture, and piling on the problems.

Most people do not realize how advanced the Russian military has become. Russian soldiers are less emotional. That lack of empathy makes them a much more feared force than their United States counterparts. Russian soldiers need fewer amenities, rarely question orders, and complete their assignments faster. Good or bad, when orders come, they will defend Syria to the death. If the United States soldiers trying to eliminate ISIS are faced straight on with Russian forces defending Assad’s Syrian regime, we must hope WWIII is not ignited. The struggle for domination is already smoldering in the Syrian desert.

Currently, Russian resistance is preventing the United States from succeeding with its long-term plan for Syria. Russia is powerful, and the United States must respond to their power with caution. Any retaliatory moves by the other country would be devastating to the world. ISIS is the one who benefits from this standoff. This may possibly leave the United States with no other choice than to fight ISIS elsewhere. This begs the question: Is ousting Assad and ending the Syrian civil war even possible without inciting a larger war?