Russia has moved militarily into Syria, ostensibly to fight ISIS, though those in the know say its true aim is to bolster the Assad regime. Whatever the case may be, the red line was crossed by president Assad a long time ago and ISIS has done nothing if not grown in strength over the past several years.

So we have a bit of a standoff between Putin’s Russia and Obama’s America. Whatever the motives may be, some things remain certain: the Syrian people still suffer, ISIS still grows in power, influence, and ability to cause mayhem, and the Middle East is a shambles.

Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess, so we may as well make those guesses educated. To do just that, we assemble yet another panel of brilliant minds and informed brains. On this occasion we invited into the studio Brian Endless of Loyola University, David Farris of Roosevelt University, and Khalil Marrar of Governor’s State University. Their counterparts on the phone are the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert W. Jordan (who recently published a fine memoir) and Frederick W. Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, an extremely well-connected and influential mind who is an expert of Russian and Soviet history as well as military capacity and tactics.