Cumberland Times-News

Z_CNHI News Service

September 17, 2013

EDITORIALS: Strikes averted, for now / Open letter to Vladimir Putin

(Continued)

And even if there is no direct military intervention by the United States or its allies, the option to aid rebel groups continues to be viable. That, however, presents the problem of how to support anti-Assad factions friendly to the West without opening a door for radical Islamic groups.

This is indeed a puzzle for America and its allies. But it’s also one that ultimately must be resolved by Syria and other Middle Eastern nations dealing with similar leadership and power concerns. They must decide if they want societies that thrive and grow and debate issues peacefully, or if they will endure under repressive overlords demanding total control.

The West can aid democratic efforts in these countries, but they cannot dictate them.

-----

An open letter response to Putin

(The Mankato Free Press / Mankato, Minn.)

Dear Vladimir (you don’t mind being called Vladimir, do you? Since you used the New York Times op-ed piece to get closer to us Americans, we figured you wanted to be less formal),

Now that we’re pen pals (at least with help from your PR firm, Ketchum), let’s talk a little more about those things that seem to concern you — Syria, international law and the American psyche.

Your professorial observation that Syria is not a battle for democracy but an “internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition...” is interesting. But one has to wonder where Damascus is getting its Russian-made S-3000 missiles, MiG-29M/M2 and MiG21 jets and those Russian Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopter gunships as well as Russian-made Mi24/25 attack helicopters that can drop 250 kg bombs.

And while we can agree that chemical weapons were used in Syria, frankly we’re a little confused by your insistence that “there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces…” Hmm. Not Syria?

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