On September 4, Putin opened the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia and expressed his frustration with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “He’s lying, and he knows he’s lying,” Putin said.
He is now blaming the Obama Administration and Kerry for weak action in Syria.
Putin is outspoken, to be sure; but the name calling has hardly been one-directional. In a recent press conference, Obama criticized Putin’s characteristic slouch and said that he’s like “a bored kid in the back of the classroom.” An anonymous Kremlin official, quoted in the New York Times, reported that Putin was “infuriated” by the President’s maladroit remark.
All of this makes me really angry.
Not angry at the Russian president for his frank pronouncements regarding American politicians.
Rather, I am angry that America’s pompous leader should have so squandered the tentative post-Cold War relationship which was begun in 1971, during the détente period under the leadership of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and which was further developed during later presidencies. I am angry that America appears to be losing her moral authority, her noble vision, her principled leadership.
Mr. President, in case you’ve forgotten, you work for me—and for all of the American people. A majority of your citizen-employers, the American people, value the cooperative relationship with other superpowers that your less strident predecessors nurtured. We DO NOT want you to launch military airstrikes against the Assad regime. We don’t believe your objective is clearly defined, and we don’t believe killing innocent civilians by indiscriminate air attacks conveys the “message” you hope to send.
Political relationships are fostered, not by derision, but by generous cooperation and diplomatic speech. Mr. President, you have demonstrated here at home, and now abroad, that you can’t pass up the opportunity to throw a little mud toward your opponents. We don’t want to see you scuffling like the class bully on the world stage; rather, we expect your skilled diplomacy to persuade our opponents to seek justice.
We expect you to generate a spirit of cooperative partnership, inspiring Russian leaders to join with us to seek the common good. Wipe that smart-ass sneer off your face, and get to work.