PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, September 12, 2013

Putin Takes Center Stage In Syria Crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. (Maxim Shemetov/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. (Maxim Shemetov/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has deftly seized the initiative, overshadowing Barack Obama to set the international agenda in the Syrian crisis

Today, Putin has an op-ed in the New York Times laying out a comprehensive challenge to the American view on Syria.

He writes, “there is every reason to believe” that it was the Syrian opposition that used chemical weapons, not the Syrian government.

Putin says military action without U.N. Security Council approval “could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.”

And he takes issue with President Obama’s statement that U.S. policy in the world is what makes America exceptional.

Putin responds, “it is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,” adding, “we must not forget that God created us equal.”

Senator John McCain tweeted that Putin’s op-ed is “an insult to the intelligence of every American.”

The White House responded with an official telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that the important thing is, “Putin is now fully invested in Syria’s Chemical Weapons disarmament … everything else is irrelevant.”

Putin’s op-ed comes in the midst of a growing debate over President Obama shifting stances on the Syrian conflict. Supporters say the policy changes demonstrate Obama’s strength, showing a president who can take in new information and new realities.

Richard N. Haass, a former state department official who has supported Obama at times, said to the New York Times, “words like ad hoc and improvised and unsteady come to mind. This has been probably the most undisciplined stretch of foreign policy of his presidency.”

Even if events run in the White House’s favor, President Obama’s second thoughts and third thoughts have given Putin the opportunity to come from the margins to center stage in the Syrian conflict.

Guest


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

May 27 Comment

How Trump, Clinton And Sanders Change Their Voices To Win Over Voters

Charisma is a crucial component of a politician's appeal to voters. But there's more than one way to inspire confidence.

May 27 52 Comments

New York Considers A Ban On Declawing Cats

Some pet owners have routinely had their cats declawed. But opponents say the procedure isn't so simple.

May 27 3 Comments

New Drug-Resistant Bacteria Seen In U.S. For The First Time

The CDC's director has expressed concern, saying it shows that we're close to the "end of the road" for antibiotics.

May 26 6 Comments

As Lethal Heroin Overdose Numbers Rise, Families Find Solace In Organ Donation

Organ banks around the country have noted an increasing number of organs from donors who have died of overdoses.