They said that the United States has enough problems domestically, and should not be the worldís police force. In fact, most of them were of the opinion that even if chemical weapons had been used, it was not the responsibility of the United States to intervene. Many of my students claimed that Mr. Putinís op-ed was able to clearly state exactly how they felt.
However, some people in our government took offense at Mr. Putinís op-ed and responded by hitting back. For example, Sen. McCain wrote an op-ed piece in a Russian online paper in which he assailed President Putin and told the Russians that they deserved a better representative government. He criticized the lack of freedom in the Russian press, but said very little about the situation in Syria.
While some of Sen. McCainís criticisms of Russia were justified, many Russians took offense at his tone and argued that he was trying to tell them how their country should have been run. Mr. McCain should have stuck to addressing the situation in Syria, and not insulted Russians or their government.
In actuality, the effect was that Mr. McCain legitimized Mr. Putin as a peacekeeper in the eyes of many in the world.