NEW YORK — Russian President Vladimir Putin began an unpaid internship at The New York Times this week by writing an op-ed on U.S. foreign policy in Syria. Putin told Times reporters that he was excited by the opportunity to write about his opinions on Syria, but even more excited by how good this experience will look on his resume.
In his debut editorial, Putin argued that the U.S. should not initiate military action in Syrian without the permission of the United Nations Security Council, over which Russia holds veto power.
“The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not,” wrote the authoritarian president in a line that reportedly caused a mild controversy in the fact checking department.
“They didn’t want Putin to imply that he always follows the law, since that is factually inaccurate,” said Executive Editor Jill Abramson. “But since we’re not even paying him to write for us, we decided to let it slide.”
Although Putin wrote in his op-ed that he was pleased that Obama is pursuing a diplomatic solution—which would require Syria to hand over its chemical weapons—Putin did take issue with the president’s assertion that U.S. policy is “what makes [America] exceptional.”
“I don’t know if you remember, but this non-military solution wasn’t exactly due to ‘American exceptionalism,’” wrote Putin. “Unless you want to argue that Secretary of State John Kerry’s slip-of-the-tongue was a carefully thought-out foreign policy maneuver. Good luck getting that past the New York Times fact checkers.”
Though Putin is looking forward to writing more articles at the Times, he is dismayed that, besides his first op-ed, the majority of his internship has involved getting coffee and taking out the trash.
Still, Putin is eager to learn and experience new things not only at the Times, but in his new temporary residence of New York City.
“It has been very exciting to experience your so-called ‘American exceptionalism’ face-to-face,” said Putin. “This morning on the way to work, I saw a number of exceptionally wealthy and exceptionally homeless people on your New York City streets. I was surprised to learn that the former cannot legally use the latter as toilets—but I’m still new here.”