Putin: The First Draft
I thought this was strictly Iowahawk's purview, but Tablet magazine goes dumpster diving, and discovers the imaginary discarded first draft of Vladimir Putin's op-ed on Syria, before the crack editors at the New York Times transformed it into something palatable enough for the delicate sensitivities of its readers:
RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders through their unnecessarily permissive media. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.
Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war, (which isn’t over, by the way). But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together before Stalin purged the Jewish doctors. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation (except for the destruction of Grozny, which was justified) from ever happening again.
The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace (unlike Russian governance) should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Your fault. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades. You’re welcome.
No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, whose last significant act was to expel the Soviet Union for invading Finland. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization. Sending arms to Syria and Iran, of course, is fine.
* * * * * *
My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, which is why I wrestle tigers, fly-fish in the buff, and have a street named for me in a city I destroyed (Grozny) and a mountain named for me in Kyrgyzstan. There are big countries and small countries (which I eat for breakfast) rich and poor (especially with those kleptocracies out there), those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Like Moses, I’m for wandering a bit. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal except for gays, chess champions, and journalists.
Heh. I added the clip below from 2009 as an update to my initial post last night on Putin's op-ed, but it's worth linking here as well. As Jim Treacher writes today, when it comes to insulting American exceptionalism, Putin's "not saying anything Obama hasn’t said already:"
"Putin knows his enemy. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Whereas Obama is a bumbling dilettante. Our country is being run by a callow amateur," Treacher adds. "Just like we’ve been saying for half a decade now. You wouldn’t listen, so here we are."
Of course, the New York Times has been run by callow amateurs for the last two decades; veteran Times subscriber Roger L. Simon welcomes the fresh blood the sclerotic old paper has finally brought in:
Forget that creaky feminist Maureen Dowd. Forget that pompous know-it-all Paul Krugman. And that pseudo-conservative neo-yuppie David Brooks. They’re all yesterday’s news and oh-so-repetitive. The New York Times has finally found a columnist worth reading.
He’s so good they might even be able to revive the late-lamented Times Select program and make a little money from him, bring that stock back and sell some papers, even the dead-tree kind.
Welcome, Vladimir Putin!
Okay, he’s occasionally guilty of a little disinformation KGB-style and his English can sound a little stiff and translated, but he probably has the best set of ghost writers extant. How about Yevgeny Yevtushenko? Have any of Barack Obama’s speech-writing hacks ever written anything nearly as good as “Babi Yar?” No bloody way!
So kudos to the New York Times for their new columnist. He at least can back up his opinions with actions unlike the rest of the blowhards on their op-ed page. Let’s hope his first column of September 11, 2013, is only the beginning of a long, literary relationship.
As Roger concludes, "For his next column, perhaps he can finally tell us what happened in Benghazi. Sadly, there’s a better chance he’ll do it than our own administration."
Not to mention its lackeys at the New York Times.
Its newest contributor excepted, of course.
Update: "In Soviet Union, op-ed brings traffic to YOU!...11% of all traffic on [New York Times Website] today is courtesy of Putin."