Thanks to Barack Obama's astonishingly weak and vacillating leadership over the Syrian civil war, Russia's Vladimir Putin now poses as the real leader in world affairs, presuming to lecture the United States and challenged Obama through the pages of the New York Times three days ago. Reaction came swiftly from politicians from both the left and right slamming Moscow's strong man for lecturing the U.S. about human rights, among other things. But all sides agreed it was a stunning propaganda coup for Putin with the Times itself saying that the 60 year old former KGB chief is now clearly the most powerful leader in the world.
Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin said it was no surprise that Putin had used the leftist New York Times to get his points across. ''It's galling for this strong man (Russia's head Bully-boy) to be wagging his finger at America about peace and international law,'' she said. New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez told CNN, ''I worry when someone who came up through the ranks of the brutal KGB tells us what's in our national interest and what is not,'' then he described the editorial as ''very much in-your-face.'' Fox Network legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. said, ''Joseph Stalin is smiling from the grave today, his disciple Putin did a full-throated attack on our president and our country.'' The New York Post's headline read, ''Putin twists knife in outfoxed Obama''.
The Russian president's sanctimonious op-ed arguing against American intervention in Syria contained many false, misleading and hypocritical statements. Here are seven (7) of them.
- ''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 U.N. and take military action without Security Council authorization.''
2. ''A strike.....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.''
Hypocrisy: Russia has been supplying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with weapons and has been helping Iran with its nuclear program. Putin seems less concerned that these actions would destabilize the region and ''throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.''
3. ''This internal conflict, fuelled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition is one of the bloodiest in the world.''
Hypocrisy: Again, he complains about foreign weapons going to the opposition while he supplies Assad with tons of weapons.
4. ''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.''
Misleading: In public statements Putin has indeed advocated peaceful dialogue. In his actions, though, Putin is doing everything he cab to help Assad win. He blocks any action by the U.N. Security Council and continues to supply the regime with a wide-range of arms.
5. ''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-defence or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the U.N.'s charter and would constitute an act of aggression.''
Hypocrisy: Putin, indeed, does not follow international law when he does not like it, and has used his veto in the Security Council to prevent it from doing anything about Assad's violations of international law after Assad's army killed his own innocent civilians.
6. "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.''
False: Every organization that has investigated this atrocity has concluded that it was the Syrian Army that used chemical weapons. Plus Putin himself acknowledges that Syria has chemical weapons.
7. '' I studied (Obama's) address to the nation on Tuesday. And I 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.''
Hypocrisy: During the ten plus years in his leadership, Putin has tried to build a greater sense of national pride among his people. He wants Russians to view themselves as exceptional while criticizing Americans for doing the same.
The Way I See It......Putin's dismissal of American exceptionalism was ignorant and tone-deaf. He doesn't seem to grasp the ultimate kudos and respectful standing the United States has in the world. Read my lips Mr Putin: The United States brought the first DEMOCRATIC government into the modern world! That is what makes it and keeps it exceptional, even though it seems President Obama barely believes in the idea and no doubt threw that into his speech the way he often throws things like that in at the end: He thinks Americans like. After 5 years into his ''imperial'' presidency you would think he would be proud to pronounce this to his people and the world. He must remind the world that America attempts to be a force for good in the world because it is exceptional!
The top dogs in Congress have been howling with indignation over Vladimir's gloating op-ed article, where lectures to U.S. on its true place in the world (behind Mother Russia). This is the risible, hypocritical sound of the U.S. Congress starting to confront the mess of their own making. A mess that Mr Putin, as if house-training puppies, has certainly enjoyed rubbing their noses in. Because while Barack Obama's handling of the Syrian crisis has been startlingly inept, the fact is that Congress, by making clear it would not support him and cutting the President's leg off when he asked for backing, has created a world in which '' CZAR'' Vladimir Putin ( picture above left ) gets to run the show. I detect a new chill in the air for some time to come.