Over the last several years it has become commonplace for media to accuse various Republicans and conservatives of promoting Russian interests, but exactly ten years ago this coming Monday the New York Times literally opened up its op-ed pages to Vladimir Putin to allow him to spread his propaganda.
The op-ed was titled A Plea for Caution From Russia and centered around developments in Syria and it shows how the media’s new hawkish stance on Russia came about more as a result of opposition to Donald Trump than any genuine conviction.
It is not as if the Vladimir Putin that horrified the world in February 2022 was all that different from the one that wrote for the New York Times in September 2013. Five years prior, he had invaded and dismembered Georgia, yet the Times let him write, “The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.”
In one of the most ironic sentences ever written in human history, Putin continued, “No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization.”
In the same paper that was later scandalized by Sen. Tom Cotton's call for riot control, Putin also wrote, “Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.”
For a media that likes to go on and on about Russian disinformation, even when the topic that is being discussed is neither Russian nor disinformation, it is laughable that one of the country’s most popular papers let Putin claim, “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.”
Six years later, the Times would conduct an extensive reporting campaign on how Russia targeted hospitals in Syria, but in 2013, Moscow’s top man was urging the United States to refrain from enforcing President Obama’s red line, “No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.”
Putin wrapped up his op-ed by naturally bashing Americans’ sense of patriotism:
“And I would rather disagree with a case he [Obama] made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.’ It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
Even the devil can cite Scripture and five months later, Putin would again dismember one of his neighbors, starting the process that led to the events of today. Putin hasn’t changed, the New York Times has, and judging by some of the reader feedback to the op-ed, liberals have too. That’s fine, it is never too late to do the right thing, but the liberal media should always remember where they came from before accusing other people of aiding and abetting Putin.