While Putin has good writers, we cannot forget the fact that this is exactly the kind of op-ed piece that would have you imprisoned in Russia. That this is an op-ed piece written by a man who hand-picked his predecessor, not to lead Russia into the future, but merely to keep the seat warm while they forced through changes to the Russian constitution so that Putin could be president again.
This is an op-ed written by a man who jails political enemies for having the audacity to run against him, or even dare speak against him. Putin talks about equality while he jails gays and lesbians for being who they are. He talks about the importance of the UN Security council while his own country flat out invaded its neighbor just to show force.
This is not a plea for restraint, this is a lesson in hypocrisy, down to the very fact that this article was published in a journalistic environment that just does not exist freely in his own country, mainly because of Putin. While he might be right on some points, remember that he has violated each and every point he makes.
I don’t agree with a lot of what we do worldwide. The US has a bad habit of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons and doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Our moral rhetoric is backed by misguided use of force and a lot of terrible alliances. It would be nice if we could just start over, but unfortunately the world is not based on morals, but of competing national interests. Even now, when 100,000 people have already died in a bloody civil war that now involves a major chemical weapons attack, the argument against the use of force centers around US interests in Syria rather than the US’ ability to stop a regime from massacring its own people, because apparently, mass murder isn’t a good enough reason to intervene these days.
Putin has 2 real goals in this whole conflict, to project a more powerful international presence intended for domestic consumption and to prevent a regional war on its border. Putin is selling Russia to his citizens as the powerful global player it was in the days of the Soviet Union. If he merely dispatches destroyers to monitor US ships in the Mediterranean, then the result is Russian commanders watching American warships rain tomahawk missiles down on an ally, and if Russia cannot protect its allies close to its own borders, than how can it be a credible global leader.
Putin also does not want to be seen as an ally to a regime that gasses its own people. So the move to disarm Syria is as much about saving face as it is about out-shining the US. Russia has a lot to lose in military intervention in Syria, and that is the only reason for Putins diplomatic option.