Opinion | Putin’s New York Times column drips with hypocrisy and good public relations
Nicole's Two Cents
Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 00:09
It’s no secret that Vladimir Putin had an Op-Ed published in the New York Times on Sept. 11, speaking directly to the American people about Russia’s stance on Syria, titled “A Plea For Caution From Russia: What Putin has to say to Americans about Syria.”
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi slammed the New York Times for publishing the column, saying “It’s, I guess, a lobbyist who gets him that big space in the New York Times.”
Sen. John McCain also lashed out against the Op-Ed, citing in his own column on English.Pravda.ru “He is not enhancing Russia’s global reputation. He is destroying it. He has made her a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed, and untrusted by nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world.”
The column even wanted to make Sen. Robert Menendez “vomit” when it almost ruined his dinner, according to CNN. What exactly was so revolting about Putin’s column that almost caused Menendez’s perfectly good meal to be ruined?
For starters, Putin stated, “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.”
Where was the consensus with Russia and Chechnya? What happened to international consensus in 2008 when Russia went to war with Georgia along the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia?
“Not only did Russia invade Georgia, it carved out two parts of Russia,” Director of Havinghurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at Miami University Karen Dawisha said. “Russia just set up Ossetia and Abkhazia, and they are the only country that has recognized them.”
Putin wrote in a 1999 column to the NYT about his motivation to move into Chechnya stating “But when a society’s core interests are besieged by violent elements, responsible leaders must respond. That is our purpose in Chechnya, and we are determined to see it through. The understanding of our friends abroad would be helpful.”
Putin can go into Chechnya regardless of what the rest of the world thinks, but then says the U.S intervening in Syria should only happen with international consensus. I guess only some rules apply to Russia.
He goes on to state the war in Syria is “an internal conflict fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition,” and “Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future.”
According to Reuters, in August, President Bashaar al-Assad had been settling his bills for arms orders through the Russian banking system. Assad’s payments have increased in recent months. According to a Syrian defense ministry defector, Russian weapons have accounted for 50 percent of Syria’s arms imports before the uprising against Assad in 2011. When protests began, Russia sent almost $1 billion in arms to troops. Putin’s claim of Syria being an internal conflict fueled by foreign weapons is dripping in hypocrisy, considering they are one of the major international players.
Asaad also ordered the use of chemical weapons against his own people. This is the same person Russia whole-heartedly defends while they cite the rebels as the issue. According to The Telegraph, Brigadier-General Zaher al-Saket, a former chemical weapons chief in Asaad’s army, said he was ordered three times to use chemical weapons by the president.
Moscow also claims it was the rebels who perpetrated the Ghouta massacre, where 1,400 people were killed by Sarin gas according to a UN Report. The report however contained damaging evidence against the Assad regime for being responsible. This isn’t peaceful dialogue, and Russia isn’t funding a protagonist in this twisted story.
The almost laughable element is when he ends the column with “We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal,” after chastising President Obama for saying the U.S. is exceptional.
In June, Russia passed a bill in the lower house of parliament against “homosexual propaganda” which bans non-traditional sexual relations among minors according to The Guardian.
“If you walk down the street holding hands, that is considered propaganda,” said Dawisha. In July, Putin also signed a law banning the adoption of Russian-born children to gay couples according to The New York Times. Life in Russia seems certainly equal.