WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – In a cautionary op-ed to “speak directly to the American people,” Russian President Vladimir Putin warns that U.S. “exceptionalism” is dangerous for the international community.
Published online in the Sept. 11 edition of The New York Times, Putin’s piece entitled, “A Plea for Caution From Russia,” warns that a military strike against Syria would erode the power of the United Nations and “further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa.”
“It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States,” writes Putin. “Is it in America’s long-term interest?”
Throughout the piece, Putin implores the U.S. to avoid military action and “return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.” He also points to Russia’s recent proposal to Syria that they should hand over their chemical arsenal to the international community in order to avoid military conflict.
The Syrian debate over President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons in the country’s ongoing civil war marks just one conflict between the U.S. and Russia, with NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s granted amnesty in Russia still causing conflict between the two former Cold War countries.
The chemical weapons, Putin argues, were likely used by rebel opposition forces to encourage the very response that the US and other powerful Western allies are considering.
“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,” writes Putin. “Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.”
Putin invokes the two nations’ historical interactions, opening the opinion piece with reference to their alliance against the Nazi’s during World War II, conflicts during the Cold War, and ongoing unification as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
Putin writes that Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue since the outset of the Syrian conflict, and argues that Americans should draw negative analogies to the US involvement in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Force has proved ineffective and pointless,” writes Putin. “We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.”
Putin closes the “plea” to the American people with his warning that it is “dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.” And finishes the opinion piece: “We must not forget that God created us equal.”