Russia's President Vladimir Putin, in an op-ed in the New York Times, has chided the United States of America's proclivity to deploy "brute force" for accomplishing simple geo-strategic aims. President Putin was especially visceral when disagreeing with the numbing mantra beloved of all US politicians of "American exceptionalism', terming it as dangerous and vain.
Mr Putin was reacting to a speech to the nation by President Barrack Obama that sought to explain the need for a befitting response, following the gassing to death of over a thousand people in the suburbs of Damascus, on August 21, 2013. While both leaders agree that chemical weapons were deployed in nine neighbourhoods of the Syrian capital, they diametrically disagree on the culprits. While President Obama has accused the Syrian Government of President Bashar Hafez al-Assad for the atrocity, President Putin lays the blame at the door of Syrian rebels and regional war-mongers who want Assad's military capabilities eroded, in order to swing the two year long civil war in their favour.
Both leaders have good points. But as things stand, Putin has lifted the moral standard, and Obama must defer and re-strategize, especially after the hectoring and belligerence expressed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry in voluble orations in the last fortnight.