The Advocate
September 13, 2013

Russian president Vladimir Putin's op-ed in The New York Times sparked intense debate on whether the Times overstepped its editorial authority in offering so much space to a borderline dictator proud of his displeasure with everything American. TheTimes itself published a blog explaining its decision.

While Putin's op-ed advances some reasonable — if also refutable — arguments against a U.S. military strike on Syria, it keeps in line with his generally dismissive, holier-than-thou rhetoric. And after some vague threats about future chemical weapons attacks in Israel or against U.S. targets by al Qaeda militants, Putin extols the virtues of "civilized diplomatic and political settlement" over "brute force."

But Putin saves his most blatant grandstanding and hypocritical morality lecture for his closing paragraph. Citing President Obama's Tuesday address, in which he mentioned "American exceptionalism," Putin gets downright paternal.