Guest post by Ben Carmack
My sense of history in the making is roughly as poor as anyone else's but I wanted to record here Vladimir Putin's op-ed in the New York Times. The Russian president made a number of excellent points, and showed himself to be a true world leader, appealing to international cooperation and international law as the key for solving problems of violence and warfare, rather than aggressive American military intervention in other countries.
For most Americans I suspect (though a lot of people have been waking up lately, and reacting strongly against the proposed Syria strike) Putin's observations about how America is perceived abroad will come as an unpleasant surprise, which they may or may not accept. What remains is that Mr. Putin's observation is simply true. The world tires of America's intervention in other nations' internal affairs. They tire of "American exceptionalism." They seek nuclear weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction, in order to be free of the fear of being invaded and messed with themselves.
Putin observantly, again probably surprising his American readers, points out that the poison gas used in Syria was likely used by the Syrian rebels to make it appear as though the Syrian government used it, in order to provoke an intervention from the U.S. to topple Bashar al Assad's regime. Unlike most Americans, Mr. Putin is aware that "false flag operations" exist. He is aware that international intrigue is a "real thing." He saw, and the world saw, though America in her media fog did not, that the people of America were being suckered into another foreign conflict for trumped up concocted reasons. Mr. Putin acted to stop it.
Putin began his first term as president of Russia in 1999, when he took over for Boris Yeltsin. Early in his presidency, I recall George W. Bush meeting with Putin and saying something to the effect of "I look into his eyes and can see he is a good, God-fearing man." Mr. Bush was made fun of for his naivete, but I think there was something to it. I think George W. Bush, before 9/11, before the neocon handlers in his administration completely took over, had a pretty good read of the world. It was Bush, after all, who promised a "humble foreign policy" when he first ran for president in 2000.
Mr. Putin has shown himself the good man in this drama, but I think there's more going on here than meets the eye. The United States has been prevented from doing something that, for over 20 years now, it has taken for granted: the right to strike or invade any country at any time. Could it be that after years of a bad economy, crippling debt and deficits, unwinnable foreign conflicts and suchlike, America has been weakened, while Russia and China have been growing stronger? Could it be that the old unipolar world is giving way to a multipolar world? We will see. But the winner of "the hearts and minds" this week was clearly Vladimir Putin, with Obama coming in far behind.