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September 13, 2013

The Atlantic: Putin Needs a Less Cynical Syria Policy

Op-ed by Sonni Efron.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's dulcet editorial in the New York Times this week sounded like the opening aria in a charm offensive aimed not just at preempting the use of U.S. military force in Syria but also at winning a Nobel Peace prize. Now a petition on the White House website and the inimitable K.T. McFarland of Fox News both suggest that Russia’s shirt-free strongman is more deserving of the honor than was President Obama, who won the peace prize in 2009. Did they read Putin's New York Times manifesto, which contains a number of truths -- and even more silky evasions?

The most dangerously disingenuous is the argument that any U.S. use of military force without a United Nations Security Council Resolution would violate international law - while failing to mention that Russia and China have blocked three separate attempts to address the mounting death toll in Syria. That's like the boy who killed his parents, then asked the judge for leniency because he's an orphan. By vetoing any Security Resolution with teeth, Russia and China make a mockery of the UN - then screech when the United States threatens to give up and circumvent it.