Thursday, September 12, 2013

What Putin wants you to forget

The idea of Vladimir Putin lecturing us about peace, democracy and international law is beyond ironic. And yet here's what he wrote for the New York Times.
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...

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.
The photo above was taken in March 2011 when Syrians joined in peaceful protests as part of the movement we now call the Arab Spring. They were protesting the brutal dictatorship of Assad. That would have been a moment for Putin's "champion of democracy" to step up. But instead, Assad sent the Syrian Army to quell the uprising with soldiers firing on demonstrators all over the country - thus sparking a civil war.

Its true that since that civil war has now raged for over 2 years, the lines have blurred with various rebel groups. But what Putin wants you to forget is that it was originally an uprising of the Syrian people that his buddy Assad chose to respond to with brutal force.

P.S. Anna Neistat with Human Rights Watch does a more thorough job of filling in what Putin wants you to forget in his op-ed.


  1. Putin is a lot of things: oppressor, ruthless, disingenuous, cruel, vindictive..... the list is long. He is also an opportunist, who sees the paralysis of constructive dialog between President Obama and obstructionist Congressional Republicans as a chance to promote his agenda, chip away at US influence and further destabilize our dysfunctional government.

    Having gone through the collapse of the USSR, he recognizes the symptoms leading up it's demise that have taken hold here. While his motives are to precipitate the collapse of the USA, his messages, the tools he uses to further that end, are the substance of the unspoken dialog, lost in the political firestorm that has become the new American Regressionism.

  2. Putin is bringing up the same old spin used to systematically describe all Chechen independentists as djihadists/islamists during the Chechen wars. Funny how Putin is condemning Obama for considering the use of force against Assad when he indiscriminately used brutal force to crush the independence aspirations of Chechnya.

  3. Putin doesn't really understand America or Americans. He doesn't understand what free press is or does. He thinks we're all being fed propaganda all day long like Russians are and that we believe everything we read because there is only one source for news. I was having a blast last night reading how his op-ed was being received on twitter. His voice is one of hundreds in the press. It will make a ripple for a couple days, but people like Smartypants who actually know what this man has done and what he represents will be among those stepping up to highlight the hypocrisy.

    1. I find the timing of his op-ed fascinating. Why didn't he write it ten years ago?

    2. His choice of the NYT is odd if he were trying to reach the propaganda friendly audience. His new rightwingnut base hates that paper and all that it stands for. Maybe his audience was progressives in Congress. Who knows, but it will all blow over before long. We've seen that very few people who have made up their minds about military action fervently for or against Syria have been swayed by much of the media. But there was significant movement around the President's speech in terms of public opinion. I'm guessing this op-ed was more of a rebuttal to that speech than anything. Ask Bobby Jindal how rebutting PBO live telecast speeches turns out. The President spoke to 32 million people. The NYT reaches less than two million between paper and digital reach.

  4. So the emo/right wing "I'm rootin' for Putin" campaign is backfiring?

  5. The Right Wing will root for Putin as long as he hates and kills gays.

  6. The man many on the right, and some on the left, are praising is no hero and no leader. Real leaders don't go crawling to foreign nations' national lawmaking bodies asking to plead their case to it, but Putin did. He was on the verge of lobbying the U.S. Congress so that he could speak to its' members and try to persuade them to vote against a military intervention in Syria. Real leaders don't have a need to publish op-eds in foreign newspapers in an attempt to influence public opinion on any issue, but Putin did. Putin has PWND the Americans who have been, and are, praising him by dissing them in the NYT, especially the republicans who love to talk about American exceptionalism.

    What these Americans don't understand is that Putin has been running scared the entire time since he heard that President Obama had proposed a military intervention in Syria. There is no other reason he would have done the things he did, if he hadn't been afraid of a Russian confrontation with the U.S. in Syria. He knew if the military intervention had taken place, he would have had to act, and that's the last thing he wanted to do. He had been, excuse me, dicking around, playing the arrogant and belligerent poltician---until it sank into his brain that President Obama meant what he said about intervening militarily in Syria. Then, boom! All of a sudden, Putin was suggesting a "diplomatic" solution for Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles. Putin had been searching for a way out of the Syrian mess all the while. President Obama never abandoned his principles or his intent to stop Assad from using chemical weapons on his citizens again, even if it meant having to use a military intervention to accomplish it.

    The truth is that Putin blinked, and imho, anyone can't see who is the real wimp in this matter doesn't want to see all of the flashing red alarm lights which have indicated Putin's desperation all along. President Obama and SoS Kerry threw him a lifeline, and the very interesting thing is that it took Putin and Assad very little time to move forward and grab it. These negotiations with Russia in regard to Syria have been an overwhelming success for President Obama thus far because he got exactly what he had wanted in the beginning. He never wanted a military intervention, but he most definitely wanted to get Assad and Putin's attention and action on removing Assad's potential to use chemical weapons on his citizens again.