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Putin Op-Ed: We Come in Peace

Putin Op-Ed: We Come in Peace

When aliens said “We come in peace,” they almost invariably had their sights set on world domination. So beware Vladimir Putin when he comes bearing peace.

I can’t say I’m outraged by Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times like some are.

In fact, I rather agree with those that he has shown an aptitude for column writing and his presence would enhance the tired New York Times opinion pages.

In the op-ed, A Plea for Caution From Russia, (via memeorandum) Putin did what Putin needed to do. In short, Putin essentially said “We come in peace,” and made a pretty convincing case of it, if you don’t look too closely into his arguments.

In nearly pitch perfect prose, Putin argued that using force against Syria is likely to hurt American interests, including negotiations with Iran and the Israeli Palestinian peace process. He argued for the need of international norms in the waging of war. All of these are great points. Superficially. Unless you realize that Putin violates nearly every single one of them himself.

Max Fisher, whom I don’t particularly like, fact-checked Putin. (via Instapundit) Adam Chandler’s “first draft” of Putin’s op-ed was sharper.

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope (despite his recent troubling remarks on gay rights), will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders, which, despite two million refugees, hasn’t happened already anyway. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism like the gassing of civilians. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem (which I endorse) 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, like that time I said I wanted to hang the President of Georgia “by the balls” or unleashed a cyber-attack on Estonia.

The only false note Putin struck was at the end when he mocked American exceptionalism. I suppose having stabbed the President in the back, he couldn’t resist twisting the knife a bit. But it was an impulse he should have avoided. If his goal was to appeal to the American people, why did he mock American exceptionalism?

However many falsehoods and distortions are in the op-ed, I don’t blame Putin for writing it.

I blame the public relations firm of Ketchum for handling the op-ed. Note that the same flack who hinted to the Putin op-ed also linked to a campaign raising funds for Syrian refugees.

I don’t understand how you can make an appeal for the victims of Syrian civil war on one hand and, on the other, promote a man who is enabling the regime to slaughter and displace his subjects.

I blame the New York Times for publishing it.

Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, carried this damning quote from Editorial Page Editor, Andrew Rosenthal:

I asked him about Mr. Putin’s statement that there is “every reason to believe” that the poison gas has been used by opposition forces, not the Syrian government – which many now do not believe to be true. Mr. Rosenthal said that “falls into the category of opinion.”

So I could write an op-ed that claims that the world is flat or the sky is chartreuse and by Rosenthal’s standards, they could publish it because it is in “the category of opinion.” What a remarkable standard! Any falsehood is opinion and is therefore fit to print on the New York Times op-ed page!

But there’s another disturbing aspect to the op-ed. It actually became part of the New York Times news reporting.

The New York Times reported As Obama Pauses Action, Putin Takes Center Stage:

Yet suddenly Mr. Putin has eclipsed Mr. Obama as the world leader driving the agenda in the Syria crisis. He is offering a potential, if still highly uncertain, alternative to what he has vocally criticized as America’s militarism and reasserted Russian interests in a region where it had been marginalized since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Although circumstances could shift yet again, Mr. Putin appears to have achieved several objectives, largely at Washington’s expense. He has handed a diplomatic lifeline to his longtime ally in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad, who not long ago appeared at risk of losing power and who President Obama twice said must step down. He has stopped Mr. Obama from going around the United Nations Security Council, where Russia holds a veto, to assert American priorities unilaterally.

More generally, Russia has at least for now made itself indispensable in containing the conflict in Syria, which Mr. Putin has argued could ignite Islamic unrest around the region, even as far as Russia’s own restive Muslim regions, if it is mismanaged. He has boxed Mr. Obama into treating Moscow as an essential partner for much of the next year, if Pentagon estimates of the time it will take to secure Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile are accurate.

The enthusiasm expressed for Putin is punctuated by a boast about the op-ed which, ” laid down a strong challenge to Mr. Obama’s vision of how to address the turmoil.”

Not only did the New York Times publish a demonstrably false op-ed, they cited it uncritically in a news story. The point of this article seems to be gloating over how Putin outmaneuvered Obama. I can’t imagine what Obama did to deserve this kind of treatment at the hands of the Times, which usually treats him as being above criticism. Maybe the editors really were upset about Obama’s call for military force and much prefer Putin’s version of peace.

Maybe next they’ll be pushing for Putin to get the Nobel Peace Prize.


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Menendez wants to vomit. How precious. Perhaps he is having flashbacks of parties with underage Dominican prostitutes. His mantra seems to be ‘ply ’em with alcohol and stiff ’em on the tab’.

Menendez’s voting record would make Putin proud. Sorry, Menendez has no right to throw up. Isn’t he due for a trip to the DR? His sweeties must miss him.

I’m reminded of the ending of the Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man.

“It’s a cookbook.”

2nd Ammendment Mother | September 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm

just an fyi – While Putin (or his staff) most likely outlined what they wanted in the article, it was written by staff at Ketchum PR in Washington DC who also facilitated it’s placement in the Times.

PersonFromPorlock | September 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Still, what a refreshing change to see a national leader who knows what he wants to do, and does it.

So to the NYT, writing demonstrable falsehoods falls in “the category of opinion,” but once published it’s as good as a credited, vetted source?

Wow. The academic standards in journalism school must be way lower different than any other field!

If Putin’s actions manage to keep the fighting in Syria confined to Syria, he will be more deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize than Obama was.

legacyrepublican | September 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I know how to regain the upper hand with Russia.

Maybe VP Biden can invite Putin over and give him a Cadillac to demonstrate American Exceptionalism because the car shows what Capitalism can do and … what the hell am I thinking …

Dammit, what have we done to our country!?!?!?

BannedbytheGuardian | September 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I guess this is capitalism & freedom at its best. A newspaper publishes for free a column by the current Man of the Moment & attracts readership – 11% just for the opinion piece.

Nobody is forced to read it .

On the heels of telling Britain it is just a small island that no one listens to & that it no longer even controls Chelsea he launches into American exceptional ism.

Nobody except Americans comprehends the exceptional ism decree. It is somewhere beteen Louis’ Sun King proclamation & Francis Fukiyama’s End Of History.

Putin simply found a card that did not exist a week ago . Man he would be a good poker player.

What is American exceptionalism? I would describe it as the virtue established by a national charter which recognizes the intrinsic value of human life, and a constitution which protects the inherent rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, of each individual as a legal standard, from creation. American exceptionalism is not a national characteristic, but it can be observed with individuals who are faithful to the founding principles of this nation. It is a developed character which reflects an individual’s capacity for self-moderating, responsible behavior, and thereby the enjoyment of optimal liberty.

“So I could write an op-ed that claims that the world is flat or the sky is chartreuse and by Rosenthal’s standards, they could publish it because it is in “the category of opinion.” What a remarkable standard! Any falsehood is opinion and is therefore fit to print on the New York Times op-ed page!”

That is exactly how the New York Times reads the case “New York Times v. Sullivan,” only they do not limit it to the op-ed page. They hold their “news” stories to the same standard.

Heh. Now Putin is a racist too.

Menendez wants to vomit? You know before these days of girlie men, a MAN would have been very angry. But Obama beat Putin to it by “You didn’t build that.” And Hillary “it takes a village.”

I’m not disgusted by the editorial, I’m disgusted by a US President who has been outwitted again and again by the man who wrote the editorial.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Sanddog. | September 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    It is entirely understandable – as is your frustration.

    In the late 1980s when Obama is just a community organiser in Chicago Putin is high KGB in The DDR. As such he would have been working with Marcus Wolfe -THE most outstanding spy honcho that perhaps ever existed. Have you read how they infiltrated right to. The top. Of West Germany without any technology , just pure cunning.

    The lessons he learnt in 89 & the next decade of hell through Yeltsin are things no Harvard prancing can ever replicate.

    Jump to 2013 & no matter what the situation Putin will beat Obama because one lived it & one maybe saw it on TV.

“I blame the New York Times for publishing it.”

Thank you. With friends like the Times, does Obama need enemies? With a President and foreign policy staff like this, do we need enemies?

It gets worse… Russia, Syria, Iran, they don’t waste any time:

“Assad tells Obama to stop arming rebels, or no deal…”

Has Senator Menendez practiced vomiting on his hookers in the Dominican Republic? I hear he is somewhat kinky. Wonder why he would feel like vomiting?

Truth be told, this Democrat believes everything Putin wrote in the OP ED, including the spacing and periods. All Democrats do! That’s why they are known as Pinkos! If they believed in American exceptionalism and liberty they would not behave as they do, trying at every turn to deny Americans their freedom of choice.

America is not exceptional. The opportunity existed. It continues to exist. It was and will be established in adherence to our founding principles. It has not been fully realized and our progress has exhibited a decidedly negative character.

A majority of our population supports redistributive change (i.e. recycled) economics. A minority of our population supports consolidation of capital in minority hands, not through merit, but through fraud and political advantage.

We practice a selective rule of law. We support involuntary exploitation (e.g. welfare), not for rehabilitation, but perpetual subsidy. We denigrate individual dignity (e.g. “diversity”, “race”). We devalue human life (e.g. elective abortion) for money, welfare, and convenience.

Liberty is only suitable and possible for men and women capable of self-moderating, responsible behavior.

Americans have not realized their potential. A large minority, or perhaps a slight majority, have chosen to sabotage our future.

Can we meet the prerequisites of liberty? Can we reject dreams of instant or immediate gratification? Can we moderate our behavior? Can we accept responsibility for our actions?

As for Syria, finish what we started in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Mexico, and other places. Syria deserves an investigation by an international body. It deserves an assessment of responsibility. It does not deserve summary judgments. There are more people dying in those other places because of our willful negligence to accept responsibility for our actions. We need to reassess our priorities for the disposition of American treasure and blood.

    Owego in reply to n.n. | September 14, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Not sure what your last para means, but the rrest is, sadly, true. Americans would jump up and down denying it all, but if there were an election tomorrow they would relect the entire lot of corrupt, immoral, eye rolling, bastards. We have surrendered our freedom and independence. They are gone.