The White House is sticking on message in response to a
New York Times op-edfrom Russian President Vladimir Putin — one that challenged the U.S.’s claim that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for using chemical weapons on his own people, and
lectured about the dangers of “American exceptionalism.”
“President Putin has invested his credibility in transferring Assad’s chemical weapons to international control, and ultimately destroying them. The world will note whether Russia can follow through on that commitment,” a senior administration official told Business Insider in an email.
Putin’s op-ed, in which he wrote that he wanted to “speak directly to the American people and their political leaders,” caused quite a stir immediately after it was published Wednesday night.
Among other things, Putin wrote that there was “every reason to believe” the chemical-weapons attack on Aug. 21 was perpetrated not by the Syrian government, but by rebel forces. Of course, the White House has presented evidence that says the attack was carried out by the Assad regime — and that it killed 1,429 people, including 426 children.
And the last paragraph of Putin’s op-ed slapped President Obama for a statement he made during his address on Syria Tuesday night, during which he said that America is “exceptional” because it is willing to act when no one else will to prevent human atrocities.
“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,” Putin wrote.
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