Putin Calls for Diplomacy on Syria in Times Op-Ed

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Vladimir Putin
Mikhail Klimentyev / AFP / Getty Images

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a Security Council meeting in Novo-Ogaryovo, outside Moscow, on Sept. 9, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote an op-ed published in the New York Times Wednesday in which he calls for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria and warns that a U.S. strike will lead to “more innocent victims and escalation.”

Putin’s piece comes almost exactly 24 hours after American President Barack Obama said in a primetime address that he would “run to ground” a proposal that Syria surrender its chemical weapons to avoid a U.S. strike.

“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,” writes Putin. “Judging by the statements of President Obama, the United States sees this as an alternative to military action.”

Putin also writes that “no one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria,” though he claims, “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.” The U.S. believes Syria’s government used chemical weapons against its own citizens. Additionally, Obama has argued the Syrian rebels do not “have the capability” to have carried out chemical attacks.

Putin ends his op-ed with a jab at the concept of American exceptionalism, as cited by Obama Tuesday night:

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. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

Update 10:45 p.m.: Asked to respond to Putin’s op-ed, a senior White House official told CNN’s Jake Tapper that “Putin is now fully invested in Syria’s CW disarmament.”

[New York Times]

24 comments
Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

The UN recognized the faked published a video about a chemical attack in Syria. In a published statement of the Russian foreign Ministry said that the Council for human rights found that the films and clips depicting the victims of the chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus are fakes. International inspectors after conversations with eyewitnesses and religious leaders in Syria on Tuesday in Geneva presented at the 24th session of the UNHRC documents that indicate fraud frames and images Syrian opposition. In a statement, the foreign Ministry of Russia States that these documents were filed in August Syrian opposition as proof of use of chemical weapons by government troops. The opposition alleges that as a result of a chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus, Eastern Guta, allegedly killed more than 1,000 people.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Moscow denies the accusations against the Syrian authorities in the application of chemical weapons near Damascus on August 21 this year, and also calls for an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice in the frames of the International criminal court.

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

Sorry to say Mr. Putin, we ARE exceptional.  Not other nation on earth has what we have, can do what we can do and has the influence we have.  Not even you and Russia. 

Now, with that said, you need to worry less about how the American people view themselves and A) Admit that Assad used chemical weapons on his own innocent civilians, B) Follow through with the transfer of said chemical weapons and C) Use your considerable influence to end the civil war in Syria. 

You think you can lecture we Americans on international affairs?  We are a nation engaged on the international stage.  You and Russia, despite all your bluster, are a third world country.  Wake up, smell the coffee, and get your butt in gear in Syria.

NabilM
NabilM

when an ex-KGB tell you to scale down on the "brute force" approach, it might be high time to start introspecting, eh?

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

I found Putin's editorial to be cogent, logical, commendable.   I find the reaction of cold war advocates such as Menendez to be irrational, contemptible, destructive.  

Sue1Carlson
Sue1Carlson

Mr. Putin, please do not feel that due to the haphazard situation that we Americans find ourselves in at the moment gives you the right to give your opinion or ridicule us. You have taken exception to the term 'exceptional' being applied to our country and its citizens. This would be due to your Socialistic, Communistic ideology, which gives those in charge everything and strips all those under their rule of everything of value, even their feelings of themselves. Thinking of this nature is not only egotistical and illogical, but demeaning to everyone save yourself, how convenient. We in America are the most blessed people on earth. You see, it is the people of this great country that control the ego and logic of those we elect to support our government, not the other way around. The president, congress, senate and all governing bodies work for us at our pleasure. This alone make our people exceptional. Which comes to you and your country. You obviously believe that you are beyond exceptional as you have seen fit to elect yourself president how many times now, three or four terms? Whatever would cause an individual to do such a thing unless he found himself so exceptionally above all others in his country and had the power or money and control in order to bring such a novelty about. It might behoove you to look to yourself before you attempt to deride our country or its citizens.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

The New York Times.

VLADIMIR V. PUTIN.
September 11, 2013

MOSCOW — 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@Sibir_Russia Faked videos?  Syrian opposition used the chemical weapons?  It looks like the Russian Foreign Ministry is alone in this assessment.  UN inspectors and intelligence gathered by the U.S. clearly indicates that the Assad regime used those agents. 

The Syrian opposition has no access to chemical weapons.  But if Assad keeps using them they just might.

Make no mistake, I applaud the proposal that Assad turn over his chemical arsenal to the international community.  I applaud Russia for taking the lead in that effort.  What I don't applaud is Putin's temerity of thinking he could lecture the US on foreign involvement.

We are a nation engaged on the world stage.  Russia, not so much.  They try but their interests and influence are very limited.  In this one particular case Russia has a terrific opportunity to do something right for once as it applies to the Syrian civil war.

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

@AlphaJuliette 

Actually, Putin is using his considerable influence and very effectively.  America could use some lecturing on international affairs by an equal power also engaged on the international stage. Russia a third world country?  You have extravagantly displayed you extreme ignorance.  Further exchange futile, pointless. 

BjørnThuranSchultz
BjørnThuranSchultz

@Sue1Carlson Show me the passage in the bible that even mentions americans, and then find me a single passage in the bible that advocates why a country that supresses minorities, that choses war before peace, that would let people DIE in the name of money, and reject helping the poor because the rich dislikes "socialism" (btw, helping the poor and healing without payment was done by a guy in that book iirc, please tell me if you spot his name in there) . Please, inform me how many of the rules of god america actually follows, and please tell all the dead children in iraq and those deformed by american ammunition how "the blessed people of god" were responsible for those crimes. 

America and americans are not even vaguely close to even aknowledging the ideals of god, and you yourself prove why, and you  would do best to remember another little rule from the book which you have obviously never read: "Never speak the name of god in vain."

America is a cursed place, and even being there shortly was enough to sicken me. You have no reason to even be proud of your country, even less so claim to be exceptional or blessed. Come back when you aquire democracy, freedom of speech, equal rights for all citizen, a state that takes care of it's people, a functional legal system, and doctors who believes in "first do no harm." not "first ask for their credit card.", and then maybe, you can begin considering yourself a decent state, instead of the monstrous deformity of western culture that it has become.

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

@Sue1Carlson 

Putin has been as lawfully elected as was W. Bush.  Corruption exists in all democracies and America's is no exception to that.  You are severely confused regarding the Soviet Union and modern day Russia.

tsar_simply_tsar
tsar_simply_tsar

@Sue1Carlson

<We in America are the most blessed people on earth>>

The exceptionality of Hitler (fascists) in 41-45 years (ww2) brought to Berlin

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@Sibir_Russia Actually, from the outset Russia, and you Mr. Putin, have denied the use of chemical agents, have denied that there was proof of their use, have denied that the Assad regime had anything to do with it, have blocked efforts in the UN to condemn and do something "diplomatic" to stop the use of said chemical weapons and continue to block international efforts to take the Assad regime to task.  It is not America that needs a lecture in international affairs, it is you and your irresponsible and arrogant attitude. 

Now, follow up on your promise and take possession of the chemical agents.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

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.

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.

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.

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.

We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.

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.

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. 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. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html?hp&_r=2&

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@formerlyjames @AlphaJuliette You confuse influence with maneuvering.  No doubt about it, he has played his hand well.  But at what cost?  The lives of innocent men, women and children.  THAT cost.

If he has such considerable influence how is it he allowed Assad to use gas a second time?  And don't give me this BS that it was the rebels.  Only Assad has chemical weapons and Putin and the world know it. 

His lies, his stonewalling and his continued support of Assad while turning a blind eye is despicable.  He may be your hero but you need to wake up. 

Further exchange will continue whether you like it or not.  Such is the right of free speech in this country.

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@BjørnThuranSchultz @Sue1Carlson Yeah, we're so cursed that we have a huge problem keeping our borders secure from people determined to get here and participate in the American dream.  Funny, but I never hear how Russia has an immigration problem.

Is America perfect?  No.  But, she has more to offer to the average man, woman and children in the world than Russia could ever muster.  Tell me, where is your Statue of Liberty?

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@formerlyjames @Sue1Carlson I find your commentary/opinion lacking.  But more important you need to grow a set.  Do you not realize that Putin just insulted you, your fellow countrymen and our country? 

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@formerlyjames @AlphaJuliette His lies?  You want me to tell you what his lies are?  So much for your being informed.

He's lied about the rebels using chemical weapons.  It's a smoke screen to help his client state Syria avoid responsibility for their crime against humanity.  It's an effort to obfuscate the truth and confuse the world as to what actually happened.  To continue to pump out that blatant BS when the world knows the truth makes him look disingenuous.  It's damaging to his credibility.  THERE!  I did your homework for you.

Russia has real reason to be as concerned with Muslim extremists as you say.  And I'm sure it's one of the reasons Putin continues to back Assad.  But to do so without bringing a sense of accountability to their gassing their own citizens is deplorable. 

Again I ask you, where was Putin's "considerable influence?"  And why would he take the occasion decide to insult the American people when he actually had our support? Not to smart.  

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

@AlphaJuliette @formerlyjames 

What are Putin's lies?  Russia has every bit of concern for terrorism as does the USA.  Putin was called to task for possibly the most horrific terrorist act in history, the Beslan school massacre.  You think Putin doesn't care about innocent men, women and children?  Putin is not my hero, unless you hold him next to most members of Congress.  There is no stonewalling here.  Putin speaks sense.  Russia is as much concerned with the Muslim terrorists as you, even more so.    The reaction to his editorial is mindless cold war idiocy, with which you are most comfortable, but it is wrong.

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

@AlphaJuliette @formerlyjames @Sue1Carlson 

Grow a set?  Of tits?  I disagree with the nitpicking of Putin's commentary, the business of gay rights and "interference" in Chechnya and Georgia, which is bogus.   Like America has such a stellar history of civil rights.   He is right about American interference in other nation's business based on "exceptionalism".  He is right about the fundamentalist Muslims infiltration of the Syrian rebel forces.  He is right about a more reasonable approach to the task of reigning in terrorists.  

I am over the cold war rhetoric and am not in the least bit insulted by his position, and I don't give a flip about at least 50% of my countrymen.  My loyalty to my country is informed, and is apparently at odds with your loyalty, which I consider to be very shallow, foolish, meaningless, destructive.  I support President Obama on most issues, but on this I support President Putin.  Stick that in your patriotic pipe and smoke it...