Putin gets united

At last! A world leader who can see the wood for the trees!

And isn’t that a blessing when so many trees have been used in the great Syrian debate?

But seriously, Putin is to be congratulated.

His recent piece in the New York Times – which read like an open letter to the people of America – sets out his  argument for caution in the search for a solution to what he described as “an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country”.

He (or his talented ghost writer) presented a compelling case for the use of diplomacy rather than force, and made an interesting point when, in mild tones, he chastised President Obama for talking up “American exceptionalism”.

Putin believes it’s “extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional”, which is fine by me. We’ve seen a little too much of America wanting to set itself up as the world’s “exceptional” nation, with sometimes dire consequences.

I also think he’s right when he says: “There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. We are all different, but …. we must not forget that God created us equal.”

But perhaps the most interesting passage in his piece dwelt on the value of, and threats to, the United Nations.

“No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations”, he said.

He clearly believes the United Nations Security Council must be a key player in the resolution of the Syrian crisis, and rejects the idea of it being bypassed by “influential countries”.

I want to believe him when – speaking about the current dialogue between the United States and Russia – he says he wants to “keep this hope alive”.

And I’m very glad he supports the right united.

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