Putin: The unlikely liberal-internationalist

Putin’s op-ed on Syria is the subject du jour. The article is meant as a reminder to Americans that they need to uphold the order they helped create in the post-WWII, and that this requires self-restraint and respect for international law. Bypassing the UN Security Council and going against the express opposition of public opinion and leaders the world over could throw the whole system out of whack, he tells us. Pursuing diplomacy and not unilateral force in Syria will help build trust and bolster the international legal system. How dare he?! That’s John Ikenberry’s schtick!

This is probably a Russian leader’s most awkward attempt at communicating directly with the American public since Konstantin Chernenko sucker punched Joan Rivers on the Johnny Carson show.

All kidding aside, Putin’s op-ed doesn’t hold a candle to Khrushchev’s 1959 Foreign Affairs article on Peaceful Coexistence, where he not only berated the US for being too aggressive and unwilling to cooperate on disarmament and to refrain from interfering on the affairs of other nations, but added insult to injury by suggesting that this was the case because America was too chicken to let history play out on its own terms.

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