No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists.Okay, so let's assume for the moment that Putin really believes the rebels were behind the chemical weapons attack, even though their is nearly essentially universal agreement that it was Assad. If that's really what what Putin believes, then shouldn't his case against attacking Syria be centered on the proposition that Assad did nothing wrong? Well, that's not the case he's making:
A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days. The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction.So, now that the Syrian government is willing to give up control of the weapons that they totally didn't use—the weapons that Putin seems to think are actually in the possession of Syrian rebels—Putin is thrilled that we at long last have the "opportunity" to avoid military conflict? Yeah, right.
If Putin can help bring Syria to the table and resolve this crisis, that's great—the last thing the United States should be doing now is getting into another war in the Middle East. But c'mon—this is giving concern trolling a bad name.
Oh, and by the way, in case you're wondering how Putin managed to get himself an op-ed in the New York Times: He's got a PR firm.