- In the film Manhattan, a character at a cocktail party mentions a "devastating satirical piece on the op-ed page of the Times." To which Woody Allen responds, "Whoa, whoa. A satirical piece in the Times is one thing, but bricks and baseball bats really gets right to the point of it."
- In the international battle over Syria, it seems that while Obama sides with our neurotic-intellectual-in-chief, Russian president Vladimir Putin sides with The New York Times opinion section.
- A sidenote: Putin has a real affinity for publishing opinion pieces in the United States when expensive gifts of booze have failed to work their magic on White House officials. To wit, his former contributions to The Huffington Post.
- He ends his devastating criticism of U.S. foreign policy in today's Grey Lady by saying, "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, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. 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."
- Alex Pareene's review of the op-ed? "Judged by the usual standards of American newspaper opinion columns, this is a good one. Just as disingenuous and aggravating as George Will at peak form."
- Not so exceptional, eh? Dan Amira would like to remind Putin that he said of the Russian people in 2012, "We are a victorious people! It is in our genes, in our genetic code!”
- Whatever whatever. The White House is chill with all this, and as they said last week, the two presidents aren't as awkward as everyone desperately wants them to be. So they say.
- (And we're kind of used to Putin saying mean things about the United States by now, to be honest. Even though he does love using American history when it suits the needs of his career.)
- One official told Jake Tapper that Putin is "fully invested in Syria’s CW disarmament and that’s potentially better than a military strike—which would deter and degrade but wouldn’t get rid of all the chemical weapons. He now owns this. He has fully asserted ownership of it and he needs to deliver.”
- And, as one of the leaders who "like to think of themselves as having the virtues of large cats,” we can see why the Obama administration would be oh so confident that this Plan B will work swimmingly...
- ... or not. Other public officials aren't quite as impressed. Senator Robert Menendez said today that the op-ed made him "almost [want] to vomit."
- Former secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, “I think, first and foremost, we have to understand that President Putin should be the last person to lecture the United States about our human values and our human rights and what we stand for,” he said. “We know what we stand for. We know what we are fighting for in the world. And I think his effort to try to do this by a column in The New York Times is just not going to work. We know who the Russians are.”
- Well then. If push comes to shove, the United States should remember that we know Putin's kryptonite.
- And if all diplomacy fails, perhaps the Russian president will embark on his own peace airstrike with his Siberian crane friends.
- Meanwhile, the United Nations is continuing to collect evidence that proves, contrary to Putin's remarks, President Assad is the one behind the chemical attacks in Syria. The CIA has also begun to send weapons to the rebels. Onward we inch in this foreign-policy mess...
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