So, Vladamir Putin, in an open-letter editorial to the American people, via the New York Times op-ed page, tries to sell himself off as Russia’s common-sense global-thinking democratic moderate in the whole Syrian Crisis shithole.
He says he wants to “speak directly to the American people and their political leaders” and remind everyone that America and Russia were once allies; and that by working together they had defeated the Nazis.
And it was they – Russia and America – that led the charge at the end of the war, to uphold the most moral principles and to establish the United Nations. (A great piece of historic re-write if I ever saw any.)
Americans, Putin argues, should look at the good deeds America and Russia have done for the world in the decades since they created the UN. “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.”
And now it is Russia who needs to remind its good and close and natural ally (and its people) that Russia has a common sense approach to solving the Syrian Crisis. If Obama and the hawks in Washington bomb target sites in Syria – for no other reason that wanting to act like a 3rd Grade morality teacher who has just caught you with your hands in your pants – and feels it her moral duty to slap you across the face for your imprudence (and “for the good of society” she says later, when asked about it by the principal) – than America is naive and dangerous.
“The potential strike by the United States against Syria,” Putin notes, “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.”
He is correct in noting that Syria is not a civil war for democracy. Large D democracy may have been the spark that lit the match, and for some intelligent moderates who were involved, democracy may have well been the best idea for the future of Syria. But those people are now dead, or in exile. Like all wars that quickly reveal themselves to be nothing more than pure power grabs, Syria is now a Tribal War.
For the Syrian thugs who have taken over the helms of war, this is now about – ripping out territory, destroying your enemy, and creating political-religious fiefdoms, all in the name of Allah. “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.”
America, according to Putin, has made a grave tactical error in giving weapons to the opposition rebels. An error that has only led to senseless deaths, and economic destruction. Did America not learn anything from getting involved in Libya? Afghanistan? Iraq?
And while American military aid has been all ass backwards, Russian support for the ruthless dictator Assad has been about “protecting international law”.
“The law is still the law”, Putin notes, “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.”
And, as Putin reminds Americans (New York Times Americans, actually), if America doesn’t stop interferring in something it knows nothing about, then they’re going to drag Israel into the whole mess as well. (And well…you know what will happen after that?)
And for what is this American military intervention?
America can’t even prove that Assad used chemicals, and they can’t even disprove that the opposition militants did it to their own people, in order to bring on the wrath of the American God. A God who, from Command Central at a military base in Florida, will bring fire and brimstone down on the heads of Assad, and open up the land to fundamentalist political power. Allahu akbar!
“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.”
Putin is “alarmed that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is [this] 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.”
As far as Putin can see and make out, is that American foreign policy is now both ineffectual and pointless. And here he is absolutely correct. Just look at Afghanistan. Iraq. Libya. Egypt…
But that’s not all. Not only is American foreign policy ineffectual and pointless, it is directly related to extremists trying to get their own hands on weapons of mass destruction. American foreign policy is driving them to do it.
But just because he notes that America is wrong, that doesn’t mean he is right.
It’s pretty hard to call either Superpower ethical when it comes to Middle Eastern power issues – they both play countries off against each other, the waste billions on weapons, manipulate the political process in favour of dictators, and suck as much resource on-the-cheap out of the region as they can… (all the while China sits back and laughs at both of them and quietly gets richer and richer…)
Putin tries to sell himself as the sane one, the common sense one, and declares that “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.” And Putin “welcomes the president’s interest in continuing the dialogue with Russia on Syria.”
If Putin wasn’t himself so two-faced, so magnanimous, so quick to assassinate his own enemies and destroy democratic ideas in his own country, I would take him on better faith when he finally points out that it is dangerous for Obama to tell Americans – in his televised Speech to the Union last Tuesday – that they are the “exceptional” people on the planet.
Putin would “rather disagree with [the] case [Obama]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. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
How true. Even if spoken by a snake.
But, if nothing else, Putin’s letter to the American people may have one success, intended or otherwise. It will draw Republicans and Democrats closer together. For they may not agree on what “to-do-about-Syria”, but they can all agree that they hate “all things Russian”.