In today’s New York Times, an op ed on the potential of U.S. military action in Syria has a surprising byline: Vladimir V. Putin. Yes, that Vladimir V. Putin, President of Russia. In the opinion piece, he lays out his argument against America acting alone on Syria, urging international cooperation. “Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy,” Putin wrote, “but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us.’”
He appeals to Americans’ war weariness, and offers a carrot, writing: “If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.”
Is Putin right that American exceptionalism is not a given and that, on the issue of Syria, our leader may just have it wrong?
Andrei Tsygankov, professor of international relations and political science at San Francisco State University, author of “Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin”
Andrew Weiss, vice president for studies of Russia and Eurasia at the Carnegie Endowment, and former director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council staff of Presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush