September 12, 2013
Russian President Putin and President Obama. (Guneev Sergey/Getty Images)
Russian President Putin and President Obama. (Guneev Sergey/Getty Images)

There are so many “Say what now?!”-worthy things in Vladimir Putin’s op-ed (read surreal lecture) in the New York Times today I don’t know where to begin.

The Russian president is very concerned about the credibility of the United Nations.

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.

So, we’re supposed to ignore all those times Russia used its powerful veto on the U.N. Security Council to stall a solution to the Syrian civil war and undermine the effectiveness of the international body. For instance, Russia (with an assist from China) in July 2012 blocked a Security Council measure to impose sanctions against Syrian dictator and Russia patron Bashar al-Assad. And let’s not forget that just this week, Russia cancelled an emergency Security Council meeting it called to discuss the last-minute proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.

The Russian president is a true frenemy.

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust.

His definitions of “relationship” and “trust” must be loose. Putin’s reelection campaign last year was so anti-American, Obama waited several days to place the customary congratulatory call. Then, the Russian leader bailed on the G-8 summit being held at Camp David. Throw in granting asylum to American security-secrets-leaker Edward Snowden and you’d be hard pressed to see the “growing trust” in the “relationship” between Putin and Obama.

But it was the conclusion of the Russian president’s op-ed that left me slack-jawed.

We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

There should have been an asterisk at the end of Putin’s piece. God created us equal — unless you’re gay or lesbian. Putin’s ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” is so broad that the lives of gay Russians and gay tourists in Russia have been deemed illegal. Putin banned the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples in foreign countries. This also applies to unmarried, straight couples and single adults from nations that recognize marriage equality.

Given all this, Putin’s surreal lecture of the United States and our president is a bit much.

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Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.