I swear I’m not a Vlad Fan girl (must. resist.the.vlad.) but I couldn’t help appreciating Putin’s op-ed in the NYT. Here’s what I read:
Snark and wow warning; Not Safe For Progs.
RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.
Translation: Americans, you are wrapped in a tissue of lies by your government and media. For once, since this impacts me, I must break the illusion with a few hard facts.
Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.
The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.
I know your schools are pure indoctrination now, so you probably don’t know your own history. We’ve had ups & downs, been friends, enemies, frenemies (ah, good times) but we both agreed to create the UN to be our legal cover when we played our little world domination games.
No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.
But if your government flouts the UN too obviously, like, say, in gunrunning in and out of Libya and Syria in violation of the very laws it pushed through, I don’t see why I’m expected to pretend everything’s peachy. I don’t really care what happens to the UN as a consequence; that was always more your posse anyway, not ours. You can’t keep dealing me aces and expect me not to use them.
The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.
On Syria, your President is really alone. Even the saintly new Pope is on my side. (He thinks I’m a nice Orthodox boy.)
Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.
Syria is a conflict between a government and Al Qaeda. Think about that for a moment. And start asking yourself where Al Qaeda is getting its weapons for this.
Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria? After all, after fighting in Libya, extremists moved on to Mali. This threatens us all.
I know your media tries to stifle any news related to the Libya debacle , but does no one in your country remember how our little proxy war in Afghanistan created Bin Laden?
From the outset, Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future. We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law. We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.
Look, obviously Syria’s a long-time ally. But this time Assad’s actually got international law on his side. Me & Bash had a good laugh about that. Who’d have thought, huh?
No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.
Yeah, someone used sarin. Omelet, eggs. It’s war, weapons get used. I’m not even sure who used it. Remember that both sides hate your ally Israel though, just sayin.
It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”
But force has proved ineffective and pointless. Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day. In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes.
Your country keeps using your military as a hammer to swat flies, but you and I both know your military is over-extended, over-deployed, tired, and sick of war. If it were my military I’d treat them so much better, but I digress…
No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.
And the whole “for the children” thing … no one falls for that anymore.
The world reacts by asking: if you cannot count on international law, then you must find other ways to ensure your security. Thus a growing number of countries seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction. This is logical: if you have the bomb, no one will touch you. We are left with talk of the need to strengthen nonproliferation, when in reality this is being eroded.
It’s almost like your President wants to motivate other countries to get nukes. Have you noticed that? Me, I want less nukes in the world. In my ideal world, only I would have nukes.
We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.
I miss the Cold War.
A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction. Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action.
I welcome the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria. We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations.
If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.
Thank you for all the aces, Mr Kerry & Barry. It’s a bit embarrassing to have to play against such chumps, but I do what I must for Mother Russia.
My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this.
Barry, make me a sammich. Mm, I like the fancy little toothpick, nice touch.
I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday.
My sides still hurt from laughing.
And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too.
Do you remember when Barry said “Greeks think Greece is exceptional?” Ha ha ha ha. Ah, you used to be a great country, a fearsome power, but now… it’s sad, really.
We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
Unlike some current US Presidents, I’ve read your Declaration of Independence, and I believe in God.
Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.
Who’s your daddy now, Barack?