Putin’s OpEd in the NY Times, a plea to the US for “caution”, should be taken seriously. It should be read critically, but with an open mind. It won’t transform his image at home or abroad and make him likable to most of us. But with obvious exceptions (eg, no admission of Russia’s negative role, supplying arms to its “clients” as we do to ours), the thrust of his message is very sound, certainly logical and timely.
The media thrives on demonizing foreign villains, so it remains to be seen whether most Americans get a fair chance to read and judge the content for themselves. It’s not a good sign that The Times found it necessary to print a bloody hand, presumably Putin’s, next to the OpEd piece.
Putin says something in the last paragraph that I wish all Americans would take to heart. It’s ritual for every President, Obama included, to tout America and Americans as “exceptional”, different and superior to all others — and then to sign off with “God Bless the United States of America.” Commenting on Obama’s speech Tuesday night, Putin says:
I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.