A Nobel Prize Tailor-Made for Putin
Published: October 25, 2013 (Issue # 1783)
President Vladimir Putin's supporters cried foul when the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize went this month to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons instead of Putin.
Voicing the sentiments of many, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma's International Relations Committee, said the decision to recognize the inspectors' efforts to secure chemical weapons in Syria was a disgraceful snub to Putin. Pushkov argues that Putin "truly prevented war in Syria" by foiling U.S. attack plans at the last moment with his proposal to destroy Syria's chemical arms.
But Putin is no more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than Syrian President Bashar Assad — or, for example, Vladimir Lenin when he helped end Russia's participation in World War I in 1918. By the time the armistice was signed in November 1918, Lenin, like Assad, was already deep into his own civil war, in which several million people died.
So much for Assad, Lenin and Putin ending wars.
Far from promoting peace, Putin has helped Assad's regime commit war crimes, resulting in an estimated 100,000 deaths over the past 2 1/2 years.
First, Putin's Russia has sold Assad hundreds of millions of dollars worth of planes, helicopters, Scud missiles, armed personnel carriers, tanks and other advanced weapons systems that were used specifically against civilians.
Second, Russia has provided valuable political cover in the United Nations Security Council, vetoing three resolutions aimed at sanctioning or simply condemning the Assad regime.
Third, Putin and his loyalists have effectively acted as Assad's apologists and PR agents, repeating his falsehoods not only in a New York Times op-ed piece, but also in the UN and elsewhere. This global propaganda campaign starts with the false premise that Assad is not engaged in a civil war but is fighting a war exclusively against terrorists, much like the U.S. war against al-Qaida and other groups. It ends with the bogus argument that opposition forces carried out a chemical attack near Damascus on Aug. 21 as a "provocation" to force the West to intercede militarily.
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