Obama Put On The Defensive By Putin
President Putin’s op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times has been met with a variety of reactions among US politicians and media pundits. Some were offended and reacted bitterly by calling it things like “insulting” or “laughable”. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said: “I almost wanted to vomit”.
Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, a mostly liberal network, looking visibly offended, left her brief mention of the piece till the very end of her show and dismissed it merely by complaining that Mr. Putin “is lecturing us” – a reaction most commentators shared – on democracy and international law. In her liberal thinking, criticizing US policies is the same as criticizing “us”. After all, “we” (which in her mind includes both the American people and the government of the 1%), are champions of democracy, freedom and respect for international laws. We teach others on these things. How dare he lecture us! Well, I won’t go into why, not just Putin, but just about anyone, would be justified in lecturing the US government on these ideas. I would agree with one thing, though: the US surely talks about such ideas more than anyone else, but, as my father would say, those who preach to others the most of some virtue, are usually the ones lacking it.
But, what these commentators took the most issue with was Putin’s challenge of “American exceptionalism”. Now, you’re really insulting us Mr. Putin. How dare you tell us we’re not that special. Truth be told, President Putin was right about most of what he said in that piece, but what he was most right about was indeed that subject that offended so many of US leaders and policy makers and their advocates in media. Believing in being “exceptional” is indeed “dangerous”, as Putin said. All empires of the past that invaded, occupied, massacred, oppressed and looted the wealth of other nations believed or at least promoted the idea that they were exceptional and special. That includes even the Nazis. That’s because only an “exceptional” people is “chosen” and have the capability and hence the right and even the “moral duty” to spread divine virtues and “civilization” to the rest of the world who should be grateful to those exceptional people for their largesse, even if in doing so, they have to kill thousands of them. A US general once said about a Vietnamese village: “we had to destroy it to save it”. Decades later, US dropped its democracy again over people’s heads, this time leveling Fallujah, Iraq, in order to save it. Any other nation doing anything remotely similar would be viewed in the eyes of these commentators as the worst possible rogue state, and indeed “exceptional” – exceptionally evil, belligerent and arrogant.
The reaction of these commentators to Putin’s op-ed is like that of a school bully who steals other kids’ lunches and when asked why he’s being so mean, he says: “are you calling me fat?”
Others lament that “Putin has eclipsed Mr. Obama as the world leader driving the agenda in the Syria crisis” and “appears to have achieved several objectives, largely at Washington’s expense”.
(New York Times). And, what exactly has Putin done that’s “at Washington expense”? The Times answers: “He has stopped Mr. Obama from going around the United Nations Security Council” to bomb Syria! Amazing, isn’t it?
So, what did Putin say that was so enraging to Obamabots like Rachel Maddow, Martin Bashir and Others? He said: taking “military action without Security Council authorization will result in more innocent victims and escalation”; that “It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States”; that “Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force”; and “We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement”.
He also said: “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”.
He added: “Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government”.
“Experts agree”, reports Reuters. “the Nusra Front, an offshoot of the group al Qaeda in Iraq, is among the most effective forces in Syria”. Republican House Representative, Michael McCaul from Texas said last week at the Senate hearing:
“every time I get briefed on this [who the rebels are], it gets worse and worse, because the majority now of these rebel forces – and I say majority now – are radical Islamists pouring in from all over the world.” After Kerry disagreed with him, putting the percentage of Al Qaeda aligned fighters at 15-25%, a spokeswoman at the State Department later said Kerry’s remarks “reflect the department’s position”! Position? So, now, we take positions on facts? So, they don’t care what the facts are. That’s THEIR position. End of story.
“Most of the groups battling against Assad are composed of Islamist fighters” one U.S. official said to Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “In a hard-fought civil war, especially one without a single well-organized opposition movement, success goes to the most ruthless and dedicated elements, which also tend to be the most extreme in their views. We are seeing such a process in Syria today,” said Paul Pillar, who retired in 2005 as the U.S. intelligence community’s top Middle East analyst.
A senior military official told NBC News today that actual percentage of terrorist groups fighting the Syrian army is “way higher” than Kerry told the Senate. “Defense officials estimate that al Qaeda and related extremists groups now constitute ‘more than 50 percent’ of the rebel force, which is made up of at least 70 different factions, ’and it’s growing by the day,’ according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity”, reported NBC News. In other words, Putin is right and Kerry lied. Which makes you wonder what else did they lie to us about?
And, even now, as they find themselves on the wrong side while blaming Putin for daring to take the side of peace and making Obama look bad, they still continue to conspire and try to find a pretext for war. What they’re planning now is to declare Syria uncooperative and non-compliant about declaring and getting rid of their chemical weapons so they can do what they wanted to do all along. Their hope is after this temporary “pause” and setback, they can garner enough support to wage their war. While they retort to Putin: “who are you to tell us about laws”, they continue to plan to break them and continue to put the focus on “brute force”.
Those whose national pride and patriotism has been offended by the President of another country asking their Constitutional law Professor President to respect the law should understand that if Putin “has taken center stage” and has put Obama and his followers in the defensive, it’s because Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize awardee, is advocating war, while Putin is pushing for peace, which is where most American people are, too. That’s not Putin’s doing; he didn’t choose that position for him. Obama himself put himself in that position. The reason the US political and media establishment feel defensive and offended is not because Putin is wrong, but because he’s right.
Maybe instead of getting angry at those who tell you you have no cloths on, you should go put on some cloths.