MOSCOW, September 13 (RIA Novosti) – Judging by the White House’s response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s op-ed on the Syrian crisis, the US is “unaccustomed” to political competition and is too used to “patting everyone on the back patronizingly,” Putin’s spokesman said Friday.
The op-ed, published in The New York Times on Wednesday, lambasted Washington’s unilateralism and recited a laundry list of Russian objections to the US President Barack Obama administration’s push for a military strike against Syria in response to an apparent August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus that the US blames on the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that Russia had offered a contrast that “demonstrates why America is exceptional.” Unlike Moscow, Washington “stands up for democratic values and human rights” in the US and globally, he said.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, retorted by claiming that the US had forgotten the idea of competition in international relations.
“A democratic existence in international relations implies the existence of competition,” Peskov said. “Sometimes, there’s a feeling that our [US] partners are unaccustomed to it.”
Peskov also said the Russian leader did not mean to antagonize or offend anyone by his op-ed.
“In international relations, Putin never preaches to anyone,” Peskov said. “Meanwhile, our American partners and friends in the past several decades have grown too used to patting everyone on the back patronizingly. And that’s what has shaped and is shaping the attitude to the US in the world.”
The op-ed came ahead of talks between the two countries in Geneva on Thursday and Friday to discuss Russia’s plan to have Syria transfer control of its chemical weapons arsenal to international monitors for eventual destruction.
The unrest in Syria began in March 2011 and later escalated into a civil war. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far, according to UN estimates.