My weekend column is about Putin’s urge to kick a man when he’s down. Having initially misread his New York Times piece, Peggy Noonan now gets the point:
He is telling the world he knows how to correct America, tell it off, criticize it for its conceit. And he does it right to their faces, not in a Moscow interview or a St. Petersburg speech. He is rubbing America’s nose in it for the delectation of its friends, occasional friends, foes and occasional foes.
All those friends and foes around the planet get it, too. Time magazine publishes four global editions: The cover story of the Europe/Africa edition, the Asia edition, and the Pacific edition reflect what actually happened this week; the cover story of the U.S. edition is some heartwarming fluff about nothing. The palace guard in the America media are doing a straddle Pravda and Comical Ali never had to attempt — telling the truth to the world while keeping their domestic readership in the dark.
Hence, the cooing coverage of this weekend’s “agreement.” A “deal” that pretends to be about chemical-weapons inspections is, in fact, a deal that “the U.S. will not interfere in Syria’s civil war.” Under the absurd plans to send international inspectors into a war zone is an agreement by Obama and Putin that what happened to a U.S. client in Egypt and a French client in Tunisia and an Anglo-American-French client in Libya will not be permitted to happen to a Russo-Iranian client in Syria.
Whether Obama knows that’s what he’s signed on to is unclear. But, if you don’t think the Middle East and the wider world get that message, you must be reading the U.S. edition of Time.