Sen. John McCain will write an op-ed in the Russian newspaper Pravda, responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin's op-ed in The New York Times that warned President Barack Obama and the American public against attacking Syria.
McCain, a Republican from Arizona, joked in an interview on CNN on Thursday night that he would "love to have a commentary in Pravda." The day later, the editors of Pravda agreed to publish an op-ed by him, allowing him to attack the leadership of Putin.
On Wednesday, the Russian president criticized the United States in a widely-read column in The New York Times, attacking American exceptionalism and warning that a U.S. attack would exacerbate the conflict and undermine the authority of the United Nations Security Council.
Editors of Pravda were contacted by John Hudson, a reporter at the Foreign Policy magazine, who acted on his own after watching McCain's interview on CNN.
"If John McCain wants to write something for us, he is welcome," Dmitry Sudakov, the English editor of Pravda, responded, according to Foreign Policy. "Mr. McCain has been an active anti-Russian politician for many years already. We have been critical of his stance on Russia and international politics in our materials, but we would be only pleased to publish a story penned by such a prominent politician as John McCain."
Hudson then told McCain's communications director Brian Rogers about Pravda's willingness to publish an op-ed. Rogers responded promptly, saying, "On the record: Senator McCain would be glad to write something for Pravda, so we'll be reaching out to Dmitry with a submission."
Rogers said McCain would like to address several issues, including democracy and human rights in Russia and the Putin regime's aiding and abetting of the Syrian regime at the time of a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people.
In his remarks, Putin said Americans needed to be cautious in their dealing with Syria, advocating for talks instead of military action.
"The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's borders," Putin wrote. "A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance."
Responding to Putin's op-ed in a column in The Christian Post, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio wrote Friday, "While Russia and the U.S. did work together to defeat the Nazis in World War II as Putin points out, our histories since then tell two very different stories. While strong U.S. leadership rebuilt a free and prosperous Western Europe after the war, the Soviet Union did the opposite, spreading a Communist ideology that imprisoned people behind walls and on islands."
Rubio added that the U.S. won the Cold War "because of our willingness to lead the free world, and today we remain the world's sole super power." The question facing the United States is, he said, "whether we will continue to lead in the future. I believe we must."
Critics blame Putin of subverting international law, as Russia has been supplying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with weapons and has been helping Iran with its nuclear program.
While Putin himself led attacks against Georgia and Chechnya without U.N. approval, he is now warning the United States against undermining the U.N. Security Council. Putin has also blocked any action by the Security Council against the Syrian regime.
Rob Schwarzwalder, senior vice president of the Family Research Council, also wrote a column in The Christian Post, responding to Putin's attack on American exceptionalism.
"In asserting we are exceptional, we are not claiming we are better than anyone else," Schwarzwalder wrote. "Instead, we are claiming that everyone, everywhere, has intrinsic and equal worth because he or she has been so created by the Lord of the universe. That claim, and the way in which we imperfectly but steadily have sought to live it out, makes America so exceptional as to be the blazing star of liberty and justice in a world of caste, racism, oppression, and oligarchism. Even someone of Putin's modest perspicacity should be able to grasp that."