News / Europe

Social Media Erupts Over Putin Article

Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed by Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, enters a hall during a meeting outside Moscow on Sept. 3, 2013.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed by Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, enters a hall during a meeting outside Moscow on Sept. 3, 2013.
VOA News
Social media erupted with criticism after Russian President Vladimir Putin appealed in a New York Times article to the American people for support of his Syria policy.

In an opinion piece, Putin urged caution against any unilateral action against Syria, arguing it could undermine the authority of the United Nations.

The Russian leader said it is "alarming" that military intervention in foreign countries' "internal conflicts" has become "commonplace" for the United States. Putin cited the conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq as examples.

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez said Putin's article made him almost want to "vomit." In an interview with CNN, Menendez said it made him question the seriousness of Russia's Syria proposal.

On Twitter, Republican Senator John McCain called Putin's article "an insult to the intelligence of every American."

The article prompted a flurry of other responses on the social media site.

A Pennsylvania man posted a "Tweet," saying whoever gave Putin space in the New York Times should be fired because the article contains "a lot of lies."

A London man said the Russian president "lecturing" the United States about international law and democracy was a reflection of the "absolutely surreal times we live in."

But a New York woman said she appreciated that Putin spoke directly to the American people. She said the Russian president gave a perspective that she did not have before.

"Isolated and alone"

Andrew Weiss, an expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in an interview with VOA that Putin's message did not resonate with the American people.  Weiss also served as a National Security Council Russia expert under former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

"There is too much kind of carping at President Obama; too much sense that it is the U.S. that is acting like an aggressor and is violating all of these principles of international law that Russia cherishes," Weiss said.

But Brookings Institution Russia analyst Clifford Gaddy disagreed. The co-author of "Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin" said the Russian leader made a compelling case for his country's priorities and took advantage of U.S. indecisiveness on Syria.

"He is just really taking advantage of the opening that U.S. policy on the wavering now, and public sentiment worldwide against U.S. military strikes has offered him. I think he did it pretty well," Gaddy said.

Russia has been trying to convince the Obama administration to back its diplomatic initiative as a response to the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons. However, the United States has not ruled out military strikes.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said Putin was "isolated and alone" for asserting in the article that the Syrian opposition was most likely responsible for last month's alleged chemical weapons attack.

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Comment Sorting
by: maria from: philippines
September 13, 2013 6:20 PM
pres,putin is the first russian pres to use the its about time for him to accept our reply,from the people of the earth.sir, its funny that after many years as un top member,its impossible to believe that your country does not know about syrias chemical weapon.haha.just like saying i dont know anything about my spouse!we can admit that pres, obama is rather slow and indecisive but you have your faults also for not letting the united nation to check assads chemical weapon!now your govt together with pres, obama will have to find a way to destroy assads weapon.both of yoiur country need to act together .assad is not woth the lives of the need to remove him from office.he will just fade away slowly.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 13, 2013 10:58 AM
“I was insulted”, “I felt like I wanted to vomit”. John McCain added that “we have respected him much more than he deserves.” Yeah, these were exact words of some US lawmakers referring to Vladimir Putin’s direct address to the US populace. Putin sees this as payback time. The words of Ronald Regan must still have been nagging him since his days at the KGB – think he feels nostalgic, maybe he misses the services. But one thing he may not be missing is the Ronald Regan’s direct address to Mr. Putin’s then president, Mr. Gorbachev, whom he asked to “collapse the walls” of the iron curtain. Putin must have waited for this payback opportunity. Now he can retire in peace, a fulfilled man.

Maybe it’s time for the Americans to admit that their president may have so much going for him, maybe in the past, but current issues, especially in the Middle East, are showing him in retreat – in reverse gear. I listened to one of the debaters say, “if we are going to be deterred by… Syria, if we are going to be deterred by Hezbollah, then America is done for”. Assad became so emboldened by the fact that the US has no purposeful, powerful or forceful leadership at the moment, by the fact that Russia is now in the driving seat, to set his own red line: Obama must stop the use of threat before Syria will continue with the issue of chemical weapons disarmament.

O yeah, and why not? North Korea just fell in line and took a cue. Pyongyang has restarted its nuclear program. The Iranian foreign minister is cheeky with what he says is Iran’s right to nuclear program. All thanks…, no thanks to the one and only president Obama whom Americans love to make what he is not, a successful president. Failing to be a tail blazer, would he not have fallen in line with previous presidents to see that America is respected? I appreciate some Americans admitting their ordinariness, but the drift seems to go below level. Don’t know how lower it will sink before the end of this spineless regime!

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