So grateful that Vladimir Putin took the time to write a letter to the American people in the New York Times, President Obama responds with a letter of his own – and he finally says what he really thinks.
First of all, I would like to say that I am really, really appreciative of the time you have put into addressing the American public. The information they have been getting about the Syria mess has left them all mixed up. They don’t know what to think! It hasn’t helped that some members of my own administration have been lacking in “message discipline,” and made a bunch of statements that frankly contradicted each other. Or the fact that the foreign policy experts who sold Americans on the Iraq war are out there making the exact same arguments for this war. I always hated those guys. Now Karl Rove and Bill Kristol are backing my play, and Jon Stewart is making fun of me. This all is unacceptable.
An average American who has been following this story might well think that my proposal was to punish Saddam Hussein for using chemical weapons on 9/11 against the State of Israel, and also to restore Syria’s thriving democracy by aiding its freedom fighters to wipe out all the Christians and Alawites, and that we would accomplish this through a powerful American intervention that will also be very, very tiny. Now, I’m not saying I’m against all these things; in fact, I am on record as being in favor of several of them – pick your favorites, Vlad. Take any two action items from that list you’re willing to move forward with, and get in touch with me so we can work on them together.
I can understand why you’ve decided to get involved in resolving this conflict, Vladimir. You’ve got your reasons. Russia has a naval base in Syria, and you don’t want to lose that. I’m sure that a new, post-Assad government would throw you guys out on your butts, and then you’d have a few more thousand drunken Russian sailors smashing vodka bottles in Odessa. I wouldn’t want those people in Foggy Bottom, groping waitresses or taunting any of our Nation’s Capital’s fine young homosexuals. Speaking of which, a lot of Americans are pretty upset about the laws your country passed restricting gay activism. They’re even threatening to boycott vodkas like Stolichnaya – which is made in Latvia. But people don’t realize that. They’re throwin’ what Rahm Emmanuel likes to call a hissy fit, and they’re not thinking clearly.
You know what? I get it. You feel like you need to impose certain restrictions on your homosexuals in order to placate your country’s Christians. And I understand that. In fact, we Americans are having to impose restrictions on our Christians in order to placate our gays. It’s the same thing, really. A leader has to defer to his country’s dominant faith. All within due limits, of course – that’s just politics.
I appreciated it when you said that it isn’t in America’s interest to play global rent-a-cop, borrowing money from the Chinese to bomb the Arabs until they turn into the Swiss. No, you didn’t put it quite that colorfully, but that’s what we’re talking about. As the leader of Russia, you know whereof you speak: for 40 years, you people used tanks, planes, and spies to try transforming the Poles and the Germans and Czechs into Russians, and what do you have to show for it? A couple of natural gas pipelines that run through countries where everyone hates you and wants the Americans to build a missile shield to keep the Russians out. Any policy that can make the Poles look to the Germans as allies… well, let’s just say it could have been better thought out.
The point you made that has rankled a lot of Americans, though, is where you questioned America’s exceptionalism. That really stuck in people’s throats. You probably should have shared that with me privately, at our next summit or something. You know that great Russian writer whom I was privileged to read at Columbia University, Fyodor Dostoevsky? Well, he used to talk about the “Russian Christ,” who through the mystical sufferings of the Russian people would somehow redeem decadent Western Europe from her sins. Yeah, that worked out real well, didn’t it?
Since you are here…
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