Right now, most Americans oppose a strike against Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin may have done more than anyone to change their minds.
In a New York Times op-ed, Putin says that a U.S. strike in Syria would “throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.” He says “no one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria,” but in contrast to every shred of evidence presented so far, he alone knows that the gas was used “by opposition forces, to provoke intervention.”
Then he sticks it all on the U.S. “It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. … Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us.'”
Putin is a sleazebag. Loathsome, swindling, Machiavellian. A represser of free speech and gay people, thief of Super Bowl rings. He poses for shirtless horseback riding photographs. It’s hard to imagine a person in the world who cares less about human rights and international law.
So when he criticizes a particular U.S. policy — like trying to deter future chemical weapons from being used in Syria or elsewhere again — it makes me think that policy can’t be all bad.