POT. Kettle. Black. That’s one way to get the world’s attention.
Writing in this morning’s New York Times, Russian President Vladmir Putin argues that a strike against Syria would “increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance."
Putin knows better than most what pre-emptive strikes against neighbours can do.
After all, this is the same man who launched military strikes against Georgia and Chechyna.
Did he seek ratification from the UN before launching those strikes? No, he did not.
In fact, in 1999 he also took to the pages of the New York Times and wrote another op-ed piece in which he sought to explain his actions for getting Russia involved in the first Chechen conflict.
Then Russian Prime Minister, Putin wrote: “No Government can stand idly by when terrorism strikes. It is the solemn duty of all governments to protect their citizens from danger."
Funny that he doesn’t take that viewpoint now.
Russia may blame Georgia for starting the war between the countries in 2008 but history, as they say, is always written by the winners.
And while Moscow may believe that the wars with Chechnyan separarists as “internal conflicts”, the wider international communities and human rights bodies would beg to differ.
But most importantly – should Putin have a veto on how the world deals with security threats?
Only a fool would agree.
It’s hardly breaking news that Russia has substantial economic interests in the Middle East and Syria, in particular.
So while it is obviously in Putin and Russia’s interests to maintain the Assad regime in Syria - despite the evidence pointing to their deplorable usage of chemical weapons - his arrogance is simply breath-taking.
In his New York Times article today, Putin talks signs off with: "We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
It’s more than a tad ironic that Putin’s talk of equality doesn’t exactly chime with his Government’s treatment of its own citizens and homosexuals, in particular.
Putin signed a law earlier this year banning the public discussion of gay rights and relationships where children might hear. Violators can be fined, foreigners can be deported.
Putin has taken the lofty high moral ground in the New York Times.
But he’d be better advised to examine his own conscience before telling the world to look at theirs.