A Response — (Or, “Quit Putin Me On!)
As an ardent supporter of a Just future, I was fascinated to read the words of President Vladimir Putin in the New York Times. As an American, I must admit being surprised at seeing an editorial by a foreign dignitary in an American paper on September the 11th — but that is forgivable. What is less so is that the Russian President decided to say several things in attacking the basic understanding of the people he is trying to communicate to. As such, I would like to submit this response to his open letter:
Dear President Putin —
I was delighted to see your congenial and eccumenical tone in your recent editorial in the New York Times. It is obvious from your writing that you have a deep-seated respect for the United Nations, and your desire to seek a peaceful and political solution to the Syrian problem is admirable. Your concern over the dangers of inserting foreign soldiers in the Syrian conflict is not only justified, but also shared by many in this country.
However, many Americans will also share at least some level of caution in following Russia’s lead on this matter. Many will remember Russia’s own expansionism under socialist rule in creating the former Soviet Union, and, when placed next to your own nationalistic statements, it seems worrisome. Many will question whether a “Russian compromise” is merely the next step in returning the Soviet cause to former glory. For while Afghanistan is still a political mess that begs to be cleaned up, the United States is not the first world power to invade it either. As for Iraq, it is a false equivalence to say that Syria is in any way similar, beyond the presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
I feel quite confident in saying that the American people — as a whole, though not en masse — have no interest in invading Syria. Not necessarily because the evidence “convincingly” says that the Chemical Weapons used in Syria were used by the rebel militia — indeed, everything published thus far by the UN has yet to place blame anywhere but only to confirm that an “incident” happened — but rather, because Syria is a target of almost zero value to the American public. There is nothing we want there; we have yet to be convinced of a reason to want to invade Syria. That controls far more opinions than any conspiratory logic of who used what on whom. It is also a much more honest confession than proclaiming horror at the potential loss of life while the Russian people lose a million children per year to the abortion industry.
As a voter who lives in a country that survived a civil war, America has proven there has to be a will on both sides of the conflict to peaceably end a civil war. The rebels, militia, or terrorists have no desire to reconcile their country — they desire to see Assad out of power and a new government established. Assad has no desire to reconcile his country — Assad only desires to remain in power. Until such a will to reconcile is created, this is a situation that must be left to it’s own ending — otherwise we apply a child’s bandage to a septic tumor and tell the patient that it will all be okay.
All of this is underscored by a rather confusing pivot in your article away from that which we can agree on — the need to not militarily intervene in Syria — to something which we obviously cannot — American exceptionalism. I agree most vehemently that God did create us equal — something which your policy on homosexuals seems to deny, ironically — however, what we do with what God has made us is entirely within our power. Unfortunately my President is mistaken when he says that American Policy is what creates America’s exceptionalism, because nothing could be further from the truth. America’s exceptionalism is because of the people who made her, not what our current leaders are transforming her into.
In 1776, an exceptional collection of individuals sought to reject the notion of rule by divine right and instead chased the spectre of self-determinism. Thus was born a Constitutional Republic that trusted its people to be moral, charitable, just, and industrious; a religious work ethic with a refusal to force an ideology, religious belief, or moral structure on an unwilling participant; a government that existed to serve, represent and maintain civility — not dictate or constrict the freedom of the people. These exceptional people did not demand ideological conformity, only a certain tolerance. These people created a mindset — a mindset that has since been handed down culturally for so long that many Americans have forgotten why the mindset existed in the first place. However, that forgetfulness does not negate the truth behind the mindset or the fruit which it has borne. America’s wealth and world power are not accidents, but that which was created and carved out by an exceptional people who were formed by a unique culture that was created by extraordinary individuals who refused to simply accept the world around them. America is not merely a colony broken away from an imperial power — America is the result of an experiment to discover what happens when a moral and industrious people are allowed to simply be a moral and industrious people. As such, America remains unique by necessity.
Thank you again for your time in addressing the American people. I would humbly suggest, however, that you turn your attention to strengthening the cause of democracy and freedom within your own borders. In time, I hope America can truly call Russia a friend rather than an uneasy partner.
UPDATED: Since this writing, Arizona Senator John McCain has written a response editorial in the Russian state-run newspaper Pravda. While I have yet to find the actual article, the Associate Press deemed to report on it (found here: http://bit.ly/14liP3P) — admittedly, it is refreshing to see AP reporting on news… for once.