Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pусский Cordiality on the Rise?

On September 11th, 2013, Vladimir Putin released a letter from Moscow directly to the American people through the New York Times.

What happened to the good old motherland who ruthlessly contested the US during the Cold War, cut off lines of communication and competed in an arms race which, if ever sparked, would wipe living beings off the face of the earth? Vladimir Putin claims that the times of “insufficient communication” between our two nations needs to come to an end and that by overcoming the rocky relationships of the past our two nations can work towards a better future.


This appeal is a warm and fuzzy one, but its origins are rooted firmly in the conflict in Syria involving the alleged use of chemical weapons and the Russian government’s continued use of the emergency veto power during UN debates about global action. Putin may truly believe that the best response to this situation is coalition of superpowers who remain neutral in the face of this now-global issue, but this incentive is quite different from the proposed “combined better future.”

Now, that is not to say Putin hides his true intentions in his letter to the American people. He [Putin] outlines the collapse of the League of nations, cites the reason of the fall of the organization as its lack of authority, and then points out that by bypassing the UN Security Council and performing a military strike in Syria the US is opening a whole in the United Nations frighteningly similar to the one which existed in the LoN.

The question that must be asked (and probably can’t really be answered at this point in time) is one of Putin’s sincerity in this matter. A nation’s leader who has a track record of not exactly propagating human rights and who once served an agency which made lying and underhanded tactics [KGB] a point of pride does not necessarily present himself as the most trustworthy on such matters. Questions continue to circulate about Russia’s involvement with Syria’s chemical weapons as well, and this may be another reason Putin wishes to discourage any kind of international investigation or military action in Syria. Moreover, Putin’s appeal directly to the citizens of the nation shows a desire to circumvent our own authoritative body [the US Government.] Utilization of such an action may be indicative of an attempt to create national turmoil and slow down any planned military response. Putin further appeals to the cathartic side of the American people by mentioning the Afghan conflict and it's negative effects on September 11th, and pointing out US "police actions" in recent decades, calling them "brute acts of force" and saying the US creates "if you're not with us then you're against us" scenarios. (Wow ... Being told that by Russia is a new turn of events.) 

So, I suppose this is a personal question still, seeing as there haven't been any major breaks in the situation in the past eight days. What do you think about Putin's letter to the people? Are these the actions of an ex-KGB agent protecting his interests, or those of a concerned leader embracing a humanitarian worldview?

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