Column: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s steps in supporting peace may lead to greater recognition

Column: Russian President Vladimir Putins steps in supporting peace may lead to greater recognition

Russian President Vladimir Putin could be America’s newest best friend. He recently proposed an alternative to military intervention in Syria, and one that the Syrian government is willing to uphold. Instead of having the United States carry out semi-meaningless military strikes throughout the country, President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian regime will hand over all of their chemical weapons to an international coalition for proper dismantling. As a result of this proposal and the follow-through insofar, people have begun pining that Putin deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. This seems a bit premature, given his history in this conflict, although current indications do lead to Russia changing course and supporting peace. Up to this point in the Syrian conflict, Putin and the Russian government have claimed to support peace in Syria, but have been supplying hundreds of thousands of weapons to Assad on the side. It seems that, were Putin really advocating for peace, simply restricting the flow of weapons into the country could have had a great impact on ending the conflict. Additionally, simply taking away Assad’s chemical weapons will not deter him from continuing to kill innocent civilians in his country. In fact, only late last week Syrian airforce bombed one of the largest hospitals in the rebel-held territory in the North, killing eleven civilians (including two doctors). There is no indication that these attacks will stop with the removal of chemical weapons, so to really be in position for a Nobel Peace Prize, Putin should set forth a plan to end the civil war and impose a new government that will satisfy all factions of the Syrian peoples.

Putin does deserve a lot of credit in other areas of politics, though, as he’s making great strides in becoming an approachable and compromising leader. He recently went to press in the New York Times, spelling out his position on the situation in Syria and diplomatically offering a hand to President Obama to further deliberations on the conflict. He also provided Obama with a great opportunity to help rebuild the relations between Russia and the United States, which is something that must have taken a lot of pride swallowing to follow through with. He’s also instructed his other officials to foster good relations, as seen by the growing trust between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The two of them worked together extensively on hammering out the details of the Syrian disarmament plan, showing cordiality and goodwill throughout the process. This is a great stride forward in U.S.-Russian relations, and hopefully one that continues to grow.

There is no doubt that Putin has begun to change the world’s outlook on his country and is making great strides to better foreign relations with America. If these trends continue and he continues to support peace throughout the world, that Nobel Peace Prize claim may yet be justified.