Have you concluded a stance on the Syrian issue yet?
Vladimir Putin has, and he shared his opinions in a New York Times editorial last week.
The Russian president's op-ed has quickly garnered quite some attention. Columnists, lawmakers and other media are responding by breaking down his arguments and analyzing his points.
Opinion articles by state officials are always interesting to read. We get an insider's look at another country's reasoning, or at least proclaimed political policies, that we would not otherwise experience.
What is so crucial in Putin's piece is that he is opening up to the public his sentiments and Russia's reasoning for opposing a strike on Syria at any cost. Of course, some American analysts and officials share the same view, but through a critical analysis we can pinpoint why they are in opposition. Perhaps they share our reasons, but then again, maybe not.
Like anything else, judgment on issues is not enough. The purpose and intent behind such reasons are much more pertinent.
Putin's style in the guest column is relaxed but urgent in its appeal. The column is directed specifically to the American people who have suffered what Putin describes as "insufficient communication" with Russia.
He reminds Americans that they and Russia have had shared interests in the past, citing a common enemy bringing the nations together – the Nazis.
Putin comes closer to his argument in explaining the credibility of the U.N. He says that it cannot continue to hold political clout with nations if it is constantly ignored.
True, it is of no benefit for the international community to procure another failed world organization such as the League of Nations. Its demise was not being taken seriously by major world powers.
Putin goes on to emphasize this is likely to happen if nations continue to act, in veto power, by attacking Syria without the approval of the U.N. Security Council.
"Under current international law, force is permitted on in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else unacceptable ... and would constitute an act of aggression," Putin writes.
Interestingly enough, Russia went to war with Georgia five years ago. This move was unapproved by the Security Council, but I am sure his country's justifications were sufficient enough to strike the nation.
Putin at last delves into the crux of his argument, which has received the most criticism from the public.
"No one doubts that poisonous gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe that it was not used by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons..."
Well there it is. A simple misunderstanding that our government made a critical error in its intelligence and inferred evidence concerning who used chemical weapons.
In other words, the U.S. is being played by fundamentalists in Syria to entice a military response.
Does Putin really think rebels are responsible for the chemical weapons attack on citizens?
The U.S. and its allies argue that it is indisputable that the Assad regime is responsible for the attack.
The U.N. recently concluded a report that will be delivered Monday, including their findings on exactly who has used chemical weapons.
But you don't necessarily have to wait for this week to end to begin speculating.
Putin himself agrees, "the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government's willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction."
But the Syrian government did not attack the people with chemical weapons. Rebel forces did. So why would the Syrian government offer up weapons it claims they did not use against their citizens?
This crucial error in logic breaks down Putin's entire argument, and suggests that he is lying.
Vladimir Putin's motives and intent behind this address do not appear as benevolent as he would have us to think.
He ends his column by adding the following: "We are all different but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."
Thank goodness God gave nations critically thinking minds in that equality.
Rebecca Butcher is a junior in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at email@example.com.