First of all, I would like to say that I am really, really appreciative of the time you have put into addressing the American public. The information they have been getting about the Syria mess has left them all mixed up. They don’t know what to think! It hasn’t helped that some members of my own administration have been lacking in “message discipline,” and made a bunch of statements that frankly contradicted each other. Or the fact that the foreign policy experts who sold Americans on the Iraq war are out there making the exact same arguments for this war. I always hated those guys. Now Karl Rove and Bill Kristol are backing my play, and Jon Stewart is making fun
of me. This all is unacceptable.
An average American who has been following this story might well think that my proposal was to punish Saddam Hussein for using chemical weapons on 9/11 against the State of Israel, and also to restore Syria’s thriving democracy by aiding its freedom fighters to wipe out all the Christians and Alawites, and that we would accomplish this through a powerful American intervention that will also be very, very tiny. Now, I’m not saying I’m against all these things; in fact, I am on record as being in favor of several of them – pick your favorites, Vlad. Take any two action items from that list you’re willing to move forward with, and get in touch with me so we can work on them together.
I can understand why you’ve decided to get involved in resolving this conflict, Vladimir. You’ve got your reasons. Russia has a naval base in Syria, and you don’t want to lose that. I’m sure that a new, post-Assad government would throw you guys out on your butts, and then you’d have a few more thousand drunken Russian sailors smashing vodka bottles in Odessa. I wouldn’t want those people in Foggy Bottom, groping waitresses or taunting any of our Nation’s Capital’s fine young homosexuals. Speaking of which, a lot of Americans are pretty upset about the laws your country passed restricting gay activism. They’re even threatening to boycott vodkas like Stolichnaya – which is made in Latvia. But people don’t realize that. They’re throwin’ what Rahm Emmanuel likes to call a hissy fit, and they’re not thinking clearly.
You know what? I get it. You feel like you need to impose certain restrictions on your homosexuals in order to placate your country’s Christians. And I understand that. In fact, we Americans are having to impose restrictions on our Christians
in order to placate our gays. It’s the same thing, really. A leader has to defer to his country’s dominant faith. All within due limits, of course – that’s just politics.
I appreciated it when you said that it isn’t in America’s interest to play global rent-a-cop, borrowing money from the Chinese to bomb the Arabs until they turn into the Swiss. No, you didn’t put it quite that colorfully, but that’s what we’re talking about. As the leader of Russia, you know whereof you speak: for 40 years, you people used tanks, planes, and spies to try transforming the Poles and the Germans and Czechs into Russians, and what do you have to show for it? A couple of natural gas pipelines that run through countries where everyone hates you and wants the Americans to build a missile shield to keep the Russians out. Any policy that can make the Poles look to the Germans as allies… well, let’s just say it could have been better thought out.
The point you made that has rankled a lot of Americans, though, is where you questioned America’s exceptionalism. That really stuck in people’s throats. You probably should have shared that with me privately, at our next summit or something. You know that great Russian writer whom I was privileged to read at Columbia University, Fyodor Dostoevsky? Well, he used to talk about the “Russian Christ,” who through the mystical sufferings of the Russian people would somehow redeem decadent Western Europe from her sins. Yeah, that worked out real well, didn’t it?
My point is that sometimes people get weird, crackpot ideas about their country’s destiny. I’m sure that the Lithuanians, the Saxons, the Wends, and the Jutes each had their own appealing national myth. So does the Nation of Islam, for that matter. Well, Vladimir, we Americans have one too. A lot of us think that the system of government we set up in 1783 is something unique and special, and that our Anglo-Saxon culture and institutions allowed us to build something they like to call “ordered liberty.” They don’t want to impose it on the rest of the world because that’s none of their business, and the rest of the world probably isn’t ready or they’d be doing it on their own, as the Americans did. But these Americans like to think that the founding of the United States is somehow the act of Divine Providence, and a model that other countries can emulate, if they wish.
Now you and I know better. We both, in our own ways, mastered Marxist analysis – you at the KGB academy, I at the Saul Alinsky school that Cardinal Joseph Bernadin paid
to send me to. And we know that the U.S. political system was in fact an elaborate façade, created so that landlords, slave-owners, and bankers could seize power and keep the workers, women, and minorities under their thumb. But not all Americans are ready to hear that message. And you, as the quasi-dictator of a foreign country that used to be our enemy, are probably not the best messenger. Leave it to me, and to our media, and to the faculty of our nation’s fine universities to help Americans understand
all that. Okay?
Last of all, let me thank you for offering a solution to the Syrian crisis, one which allowed me to stay on the right side of the “red line” I drew, and not have to back down and look foolish. Thanks especially for preventing the U. S. Congress from voting to stop me from using force, and boosting the fortunes of crypto-anarchist crackpots like Rand Paul
. It was a big mistake for me to get those people involved in the first place. As you of all people understand, decisions about war and peace must be made by a single man, by the strongest and best man in the country, the most effective community organizer or KGB operative who can rise to the single seat of power, where he and he alone gets to make those tough choices in the private chamber of his heart. That is what democracy’s all about.
I look forward to a protracted, confusing, and inconclusive series of inspections of Syria’s chemical weapons, during which time the Shiite death squads sent by Hezbollah can fight in the streets against the Sunni death squads sent by the Saudis. If in order to please your Christian base you feel the need to do something on behalf of the Christians in Syria, be my guest. Grant them as many visas as you want, and let them open falafel shops in Petrograd. Though I doubt that they’ll like the climate.