One in, all in.
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad did it first.
Then came Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, closely followed by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
Three political Pinocchios from countries with famously repressive regimes took to western media in the past
10 days to argue their respective cases for freedom.
Not just any media. Mainstream, U.S. television networks and newspapers in a series of interviews and an op-ed article.
Each leader letting their voice go straight over the head of U.S. President Barack Obama directly to the people he follows, I mean leads.
A pity each is a hypocrite of the first order and represent regimes that are as reprehensible as they are shunned.
First came Assad, who wants to be free to keep killing his people.
He did a series of television interviews that were remarkable in as much as they seemed to have been filmed in his grandmother’s living room, what with the heavy drapes, gilt tableware and comfy backed chairs.
His one-on-one with a CBS reporter was self-defeating, but the fact it went out on prime time television was extraordinary.
“We’re not like the American administration; we’re not like the social media administration or government. We’re the government that deals with evidence,” he said with an admirable straight face.
“In the area where they (the U.S.) say the government used chemical weapons, we only have video and we only have pictures and allegations.”
He didn’t quite allege the Syrian dead had gassed themselves just to make his already murderous Ba’athist regime look bad, but he went close. Putin then followed with an op-ed in The New York Times. He chided American claims to “exceptionalism” and asked for the freedom to keep supplying arms to his Syrian allies without the threat of American air strikes.
That takes gall from a former ranking KGB officer and leader of a country where the current ideology puts more emphasis on state power than the rights of individuals.
His essay’s main thrust was to caution the U.S. and, by extension, the rest of the world against military action in Syria without U.N. Security Council approval.
That caveat must have been comforting for residents of Georgia and Chechnya, who have had Russian tanks roll through their streets as peace-loving Putin extended them the fist of friendship.
Finally, it was Iran’s new president Rouhani’s turn under the klieg lights.
In his televised interview, Rouhani said Iran seeks peace and friendship in the region and wants to be left free to develop its nuclear program without inspection for nuclear arms.
Given that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is a staunch supporter of that country’s nuclear program and a vigorous critic of Israel’s basic right to even exist, you have to wonder if any weight can be given to his cozy fireside chat other than to say it was half believable.
All the while, Obama stood on the sidelines and continued to look out of his depth. Then again, he is getting used to it. The longer his second terms runs, the more he looks like a follower than a leader, a president who cannot match actions to his words.
Obama reacts to the agendas set increasingly by the three men mentioned above as he stumbles eagerly from one diplomatic disappointment to the next.
It leaves the president looking like such a diminished figure, you have to wonder if he is a household name even in his own household.
Jimmy Carter, redux.