"President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin held their first formal meeting in two years on Monday in New York to discuss Syria and Ukraine. During the 90-minute meeting, Obama and Putin agreed that their armed forces should hold talks to avoid coming into conflict in Syria, where fighting has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions. Both leaders addressed the United Nations Monday, with Putin defending Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Obama expressing willingness to work with Russia to resolve the crisis in Syria. According to reports, however, the United States ignored a Russian offer in 2012 to have Assad step aside at some point after peace talks had started between the regime and the opposition. And former Finnish president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari has said Western powers failed to seize on the 2012 proposal because the United States, Britain and France were convinced that the Syrian dictator was about to fall. Since then, tens of thousands more have been killed, and militants from ISIL have seized swaths of Syria. We talk about the crisis in Syria and the Obama-Putin meeting with Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College and columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline. He also is the author of several books, including "Arab Spring, Libyan Winter."...."