|The Oscar for best acting goes to Vladimir Putin!|
Russian Bond villain and real-life president Vladimir Putin took to The New York Times to plea to the American public to oppose an American strike in Syria. Why is Putin trying to convince Americans when just days earlier America somewhat backed down from direct intervention in Syria's civil war when Syrian dictator Bashar Assad basically admitted to owning chemical weaponry when he sort of agreed to surrender chemical weapons under their own free will and not under duress?
Putin wrote the following:
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.What is interesting about this piece?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Puting claims to be the true defender of international law and then shifts the blame of the conflict solely on the opposition and the forces feeding arms to fight the Syrian government while conveniently forgetting to mention that it is his government that is supplying the Syrian government with the weapons they are turning on their own citizens. In fact Putin agrees that chemical weapons have been used, but not by the government.
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.Again, why is this interesting?
In the beginning of Putin's appeal he discusses the integrity of the United Nations by stating countries must not act alone and that the U.N. must maintain leverage against member nations in order to be effective, but later when he places the blame on opposition forces claiming they are the ones who used chemical weapons, the reason behind Putin's editorial becomes clear - Russia has greater involvement then Putin leads the American public to believe. Ignoring the fact that this article does not mention Russia's role in this civil war, a recent United Nations report indicates that the Syrian government was responsible for the nerve gas attacks - not the opposition that Putin claims. In one breath Putin urges America to respect the United Nations and in another breath he completely ignores the United Nation's findings to push the broken narrative Russia and Syria had been using this entire time. Let's ignore the fact that just a couple days ago in an interview with Charlie Rose, Assad denied Syrian involvement in the attacks and implied that his government did not even have such weapons.
Both Assad and Putin also played up American anti-war sentiments and fear of terrorism, with Putins comments designed especially to hit home on the twelfth anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Both insisted that a strike against Syria would only empower anti-American terrorists and you can see how the two worked hard on their messaging. While Putin had the comfort of a New York Times editorial, Assad constantly stumbled in his interview with Rose, referring to the opposition forces first as "rebels" before shifting to the term "terrorists."
It wouldn't be surprising if Russia is appealing to the American public if Russia supplied Syria with the chemical weapons they used on the opposition forces? After all, why deny so hard despite mounting evidence for the contrary?