Citing "insufficient communication" between the US and Russia, Vladimir Putin has taken matters into his own hands—addressing the nation in a New York Times op-ed. In it, he pleads with Americans to give up support of a strike on Syria that would "unleash a new wave of terrorism," kill innocent people, and boost violence in a conflict that's already "one of the bloodiest in the world"—due in part to US weapons. Military action could throw international law out of whack, even topple the UN, and paints the US "not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force," Putin writes.
"It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States," he writes, making the case for diplomacy—especially since Western militants could bring the violence back home. As "there is every reason to believe" the gas attack was a move by the Syrian rebels to provoke the US into action, bypassing the Security Council is unacceptable. "The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not." But it was his closing argument—in which he bashes American exceptionalism—that ruffled the most feathers, according to CNN. Sen. Bob Menendez said, "I almost wanted to vomit. I worry when someone who came up through the KGB tells us what is in our national interests, and what is not. It really raises the question of how serious the Russian proposal is." Says a White House official, as per CNN: "That’s all irrelevant. He’s fully invested in Syria's CW disarmament and that’s potentially better than a military strike." (Read more Syria stories.)