Putin's Polemic

Everyone from Rush Limbaugh to the usual Congressional windbags has been having hissy-fits over the op-ed piece by Russian President Putin in the New York Times. I took the trouble to read it all and found that, while Putin’s word is not worth warm spit, many of his observations are well-founded, not least because they’re empirically and historically accurate.

Putin claimed a U.S. strike on Syria could spread the conflict there far beyond Syria’s borders. No sane person would argue with that observation, though Obama and Kerry seem to think otherwise, as if Syria-supporter Hezbollah didn’t even exist in next-door Lebanon, only 18 miles from Damascus, which is just 40 miles from Israel (Golan Heights).

Bombing Syria would resemble the U.S. Air Force targeting North Dakota, virtually the same size, except that population density in Syria is 318 folks per sq. mile while in ND it’s just 10 per sq. mile. A bomb dropped anywhere in Syria would kill/mutilate droves of people. Bombing a military target near Damascus (population 2.7 million) or Aleppo (3.2 million) would create horrible slaughter/mutilation—tens of thousands.

Yet, this is what Obama and Kerry say Obama can do without a word to Congress and despite the fact that Syria is no threat to this or any other country, just having its own civil war. Two percent of the U.S. population died in civil war 1861-65, while (using the figure of 100,000 dead) less than one-half of one percent of Syrians have died in its current civil war. No death is acceptable, but perspective is important. Rebels in Syria are as guilty of the deaths as Assad is since they can stop fighting any time.

The U.S supports it knows not whom in Syria. Putin warned that the renegade combatants in Syria (whether “free army” or al Qaeda) would eventually return to their own countries and become problems, giving as an example the jihad cutthroats leaving Libya and invading Mali. The French had to save the country, or at least its South.

Putin said there’s reason to believe Assad did not order a gas attack. He’s backed up by the intelligence agency of the German government, which monitored communications via shipboard equipment. Obama has never made a convincing argument to the contrary…just his word that he KNOWS.

Putin claimed U.S. interventionism solely by “brute force” is commonplace but despite clear evidence of Taliban/al Qaeda treachery concerning 9/11 Bush 41 formed a coalition and went to Congress for a resolution, then drove both the Taliban and al Qaeda from Afghanistan by the end of 2001. Accepting the findings of the five or six top intelligence networks in the world affirming WMD in Iraq, Bush 41 formed a coalition of nations and got a resolution from Congress (Kerry was for it, then against it) before Iraqi action in 2003.

Contrarily, Obama, without consulting Congress and ignoring the publicly expressed advice of both Defense Secretary Gates and JCC Mullen before Congress in 2011, ordered the U.S. military to attack defenseless Libya and pursued that butchery for seven deadly months. Now, he has said that he can (and will) without Congressional approval command the U.S. military to attack Syria when he takes a notion. Putin was wrong about Bush 41 but he was right vis-à-vis Obama, a proverbial warmonger.

The term “exceptional” is what triggered the whiners about Putin’s offering. He said it’s dangerous to encourage people to claim they’re exceptional and that God (atheist Putin?) made us all equal. Americans don’t claim to be superior to other peoples. American exceptionalism accrues to the nation’s governance, probably the first successful democratically configured government in history, Constitutionally structured and viable since 1789.

Words mean something, however, and the constant drumbeat at home about U.S. exceptionalism gets old worldwide, especially as U.S. governance becomes a sideshow headed by loose cannons, with potentially deadly consequences for itself and other nations.

The talking-heads/media need to cool it if for no other reason the fact that this country becomes more unexceptional daily, evidenced when a president makes war un-Constitutionally with impunity. Since WWII, the government has gradually taken over its citizens’ lives, using entitlements up to and including health and death. From its inception until the 1960s, the nation progressed. Now, it’s slipping into European/Russian un-exceptionalism.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark