Russian President Vladimir Putin authored a column appearing in the New York Times this morning, calling for the United States to refrain from military action in Syria. Russia has good reasons for wanting to avert a Western strike, which could put Russian citizens in danger if the conflict expanded across the region or if extremists managed to take control of chemical weapons stockpiles in the chaos.
But the appearance of the column in the Times led to widespread outrage, given Putin's history of disrespect for human rights and international law, as well as confusion, as many readers found themselves agreeing with his argument.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) couldn't take Putin seriously:
Putin's NYT op-ed is an insult to the intelligence of every American
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) September 12, 2013
Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov opened a tirade against the Times as well as Putin with this Tweet:
Pathetic of the New York Times to provide Putin with a platform for condescending propaganda. Putin lecturing on peace & international law! — Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) September 12, 2013
"Mr. Putin, you are completely nuts," wrote one user:
Señor Putin, está usted completamente loco. — CrisHunnyTostiCrispi (@Cris_Hunny) September 12, 2013
Others, however, argued that Putin's hypocrisy did not invalidate his argument. The publisher of The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel, noted that Putin and President Obama essentially agree on a compromise to resolve the crisis:
Many users said they found Putin convincing:
I'm divided on Putin. I'm for diplomacy instead of air strikes in Syria. But the anti gay policy is deplorable + unconscionable. — Angelica on Mars (@sweetsexyvegan) September 12, 2013
Others simply criticized Putin for being a sub-par troll. From the account of a self-described feline news junkie:
From writer and Twitter phenomenon Tom Siedell:
The joke's on Putin. Americans don't read anything over 140 characters. — Tim Siedell (@badbanana) September 12, 2013