A Plea for Caution From Russia

It is dangerous for any country, including America, to see itself as exceptional, whatever its motivation.
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Has the US Gov't become that incompetent, or political, that the Russian Premier is a voice of reason? Oh yes Mr Putin, your welcome for Americas law of Free Speech.

0 2017-04-28 11:22:55 - Jack Bolly

It is interesting to see the apparent ignorance of most of the commentators here on the nature of the chemical weapons attacks. This is entirely excusable; the US media bears the greatest share of the blame for this phenomenon.

Not only has it not been proven that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, it is extremely likely, according to UN inspectors, that the Syrian rebels used chemical weapons. While personally I think it most likely that both sides used them, making it extremely hypocritical to intervene on behalf of either side, it seems odd to intervene on the side which we have better reason to believe used chemical weapons.

7 2017-04-26 15:14:24 - Daniel

How many times has the United States vetoed UN Security Council Resolutions concerning Israel's war crimes?
Bombing is not an answer, and first we need to establish the facts who was really behind the chemical weapons attack.
Relying exclusively on Israeli intelligence in this case would be folly.
The Chosen are leading the exceptional down the garden path.

2 2017-04-25 03:22:27 - Agi Groff

This is the world of "realpolitik." The United States is virtually bankrupted financially by its frequent military incursions, military budget, and other support to maintain financial/political hegemony around the world. As a professional historian, I would urge the large portion of international history deprived U.S. population to do some reading, You'll discover that our "exceptionalism" has been used to justify frequent, self-interested ("reasons of national security") support of some of the world's more ruthless, murderous dictator allies in history This also includes us poison gas targeting of the Iranians for Saddam Hussein. Ignorance, often willful, leads us to ignore it, hide it, or wrap it in patriotic terms (until the terrorists retaliate as their only viable method to resist the U.S. military juggernaut). The cynical Putin has offered the possibility of a way around a violent situation, which is unlikely to enhance our relationships with /or being trusted by people around the world. Putin's thuggishness shouldn't affect our willingness to partner in an agreement likely to benefit us. In successful agreements no one usually comes away completely satisfied. Our media's constant search for controversy will never be satisfied, as its ratings rise by featuring interviewees often testosterone laden, usually self-deserving complaints emphasizing the macho fear that Putin could come away looking as good or better than the "exceptional" United States.

2 2017-04-23 20:20:28 - Tom

If Mr. Putin wants to be taken seriously in this, he will admit to the role that the Soviet Union played in the violent history of Afghanistan. The Greater Middle East is still in the process of recovering from the many years of outside intervention by the two adversaries in the Cold War chess game.

1 2017-04-23 13:38:23 - Charles Kaufmann

Definitely well written but, as a leader of a country, that should be expected. The hypocracy of his statement does not escape me though. He says that wars should not be started willy nilly but what did he do in Georgia?

That conflict was for the sole purpose of destroying the Georgian military so they could not join NATO. He can attempt to mask it as "liberating the separatist regions" but anyone who does research into the events leading up to the conflict can see the true reasoning.

Despite all of this, I would still have to agree with Putin on the subject of Syria. Supporting Al Qaida and destroying a legitimate government is not the answer. We will simply end up with another Yemen.

1 2017-04-23 10:15:58 - Realist

Syria is not and has not been our problem, Russia is. Until we confront Russia nothing will change in the Middle East, deterioration will continue. The USA has continued to compromise with Russia time and time again to our own detriment.

The issues are far too complex for me to understand what should happen next but I am convinced that until we confront Russia we will just continue to spend a lot of time, money and effort wheel spinning.

Oh, BTW, let us not overlook the fact that we have a Congress that could not agree what time it is let along put together an American comprehensive plan for the Middle East.

We are just surfing along on hope programs and unrealistic goals and objectives.

0 2017-04-21 22:12:34 - Jack Shufelt

I think that you forgot to put quotation marks around leader

0 2017-04-21 13:15:02 - Howard

The entire article is built on an unknown in a self serving way-
"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". Lets hold Putin to the same questioning that we hold our President....what proof do you have that the Syrian army did not use this gas? Share the evidence. The core of this entire arguement is invalid until Putin proves the rebels did this. It is sad in America that we belittle President Obama disparaging his honesty and integrity and take this article from the thug of the former KGB and as honesty. I welcome his offer to broker a peace, however using the safety of Israel and the escalation of the war should stick in his throat and choke him for its outright lie. Putin presently supports the Assad regime in its use of chemical weapons, and until he brings them to international control and brings Assad before an international tribunal, he share the gagging death of women, children and his own people. Prove it or wear it Vlad!

1 2017-04-20 23:07:54 - howard roark

Credit goes to the Times for offering such dialogue among nations -- where else can we get it? Credit goes to Mr. Putin for joining the dialogue. No credit goes to the cynics, except where they manage to say something useful.

[Perhaps the cynics can try this metaphor: Suppose, on a human quality scale Putin has a particular rating, say 436. And suppose then he does something undeniably decent. Is it not reasonable to raise his 'index', to say 588, for example --- without being niggardly?]

0 2017-04-19 19:02:26 - Marvinsky

Putin is right. Let's hope that Russia has the influence over Syria that we think it has, and that Putin's hopes of a diplomatic solution will bear fruit instead of fire.

0 2017-04-19 14:58:17 - Hawkeye

Um, lots of people are reading the article but I think most are educated enough to not take it as face value. It's not a sign that your current President is weak that this article was written, but because your previous President was dangerously trigger happy.

3 2017-04-18 21:28:44 - dryan

I believe that Mr. Putin portrayed events accurately. We would like to believe that we are exceptional but if one investigates our history thoroughly, one will find that we've made plenty of mistakes and have not always behaved in a manner that would command respect. As to the so-called rebels in Syria, one need only recall the video that one of the rebels happily provided showing him butchering a freshly killed body and eating the internal organs. Under no circumstances should we unilaterally intervene to protect the likes of this group of insurgents. Mr. Putin is correct in stating that under God's law, we are all created equal. As to President Obama, I give him credit for blinking and examining our position in the clear light of reason: we should not be killing more people to save people. There is a certain contradiction in this prospect that a thoughtful person cannot avoid noticing.

2 2017-04-18 04:57:31 - Lynne Nelson

Vlad, I find it quite hypocritical that you view sidestepping the UN as a violation of international law. I don't recall you getting the UN's approval before invading Georgia only a few years ago.

The unfortunate truth is that the UN is not perfect. The veto power prevents action when one member protects its own interests at all coats at the expense of what is morally right or overwhelming international consensus. International coalitions as an alternative are justified in these situations.

19 2017-04-18 01:27:20 - Mark

I could not help but think of the 30 million people killed in the Soviet Union under Stalin and the continual oppression against all the people of Russia and the Warsaw Pact. Mr. Putin was head of the KGB during some of that time. Plus, he is ignoring the fact that Assad has been a brutal dictator in the same line as Stalin. No wonder he backs the Syrian regime.

1 2017-04-16 08:42:34 - Dan Flake

"There is not "every reason" to believe that the opposition fighters used chemical weapons to murder large numbers of their own friends and family"

Who says its their friends and family? The al-Nustra terrorists are mostly from other countries and are well supplied. Why shouldn't they have enough sarin to frame up Assad right under the noses of the inspectors?

" It would be wonderful if the USA were not exceptional, if every nation would stand together against such crimes."

The US is exceptional in the world because it invades and bombs other countries in violation of international law and has over a thousand overseas basis. As for crimes, there is no doubt that every US president since Roosevelt has been a war criminal under international law, beginning with Truman's use of nuclear weapons against a defeated Japan.

Does Russia, China, or Iran go around invading and bombing other countries?

0 2017-04-15 12:37:12 - race_to_the_bottom

Putin, forget the Nobel Peace prize, you Sir, deserve an Oscar.

The only paragraph of truth was your last. Nice attempt at acting as if you care about laws or the masses . I appreciate the desperate ploy, as we all know, how careful we must be with you. Thank you for reminding us (your not-so "exceptional" audience) in your best sheep's clothing.

2 2017-04-15 04:59:54 - Terry


Peace is always the only answer worth considering.

Particularly for a Nobel Peace Prize awardee, Obama's first response should not be war, but peace.

If we want peace and we seek it, we will find it.

Will it and it is no dream.

11 2017-04-14 07:50:23 - Keith

I find his piece odd when he talks about democracy when he slowly crushes democracy in his own country. In addition he continues to supply Syria with mega amounts of arms to kill its own people. Putting that aside he makes us look like a bunch of fools. Sadly we have a president who seems to stumble around with no clear agenda or objectives. Setting "red lines" with no action plan if it is crossed. Then saying the "world" set the red line. Although I voted for Obama sadly he seems to be nothing more than an empty suit.

1 2017-04-13 19:24:52 - MF

Syria is a mess. It is not for the US to get involved. Surgical strikes are misleading. If you kill 500 people in a surgical strike, you will have affected the family members of those 500. That is a guarantee to create martyrs and enemies for a generation.
The Russians don't want America to push around countries near them, Russia wants to do that within its borders and Syria is a lot closer to Russia. If America cares about morality, human suffering and etc, it can provide financial aid to the tune of 10 to 15 percent of GDP. America does not do that to countries in Africa, Asia and South East Asia....because there is no reward for it.
The strangest thing about America is that if the Soviet Union was still around, Syria could appeal to America and claim the rebels are communists and America would spend billions on killing the rebels.
America's foreign policy is the strangest of all. If peace and stability are the goal, then America should be proactive and redistribute wealth to the world and create sustainable democracies through nations building. The backwards policy of America is to spend billions and billions on war but pennies on aid to prevent war.

1 2017-04-13 06:58:57 - Spinoza

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