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Putin Says Strike on Syria Would Unleash 'Wave of Terrorism'

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin is using a New York Times op-ed "to speak directly to the American people" and warn that a U.S. military strike on Syria would "unleash a new wave of terrorism."

In the op-ed posted Wednesday on the Times' website titled "A Plea for Caution From Russia," Putin says there's no doubt poison gas was used in Syria, but it could have been used by opposition forces to provoke intervention from other countries.  He slams the U.S. for getting involved in the Syrian civil war, which he describes as an internal conflict.

"It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States.  Is it in America's long-term interest?  I doubt it.  Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan 'you're either with us or against us,'" Putin writes.

Putin believes force has proved "ineffective and pointless," and then proceeded to list countries where the U.S. has used military force to intervene in conflicts.

"Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw.  Libya is divided into tribes and clans.  In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day," he writes.  "In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes."

The Russian president warns that military intervention in the war-torn country could spread far beyond Syria's borders 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," Putin adds.

Putin's op-ed comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Geneva to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.  Kerry is accompanied by American chemical weapons experts to look at and possibly expand on Russia's proposal to force Syria to turn over those weapons in the midst of a brutal and unpredictable conflict.  Russian technical experts will join Lavrov in the meetings.

Putin does his best to combat the perception of an obstructionist Russia backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

"We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law.  We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today's complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos.  The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not," Putin writes.

His op-ed is almost a point-by-point rebuttal to President Obama's address to the nation Tuesday night, where Obama announced he was putting off a military strike on Syria in hopes of a diplomatic solution.

Putin concludes his op-ed writing that his relationship with Obama is "marked by growing trust."  However, the Russian president takes a swipe at Obama's comment about American exceptionalism.

"I believe we should act.  That's what makes America different," Obama said in his address.  "That's what makes us exceptional.  With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth."

Putin writes, "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation."

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