A Slice of Vladimir Putin’s NY Times Op-ed
A Plea for Caution From Russia, What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria
American Exceptionalism – Generally
Despite outrage by some in the U.S., we have not clearly nor consistently defined “American exceptionalism,” so analyzing President Putin’s use of the phrase first requires a common understanding. A challenging proposition when our political process allows unique and unsubstantiated facts and definitions within every discussion. Our media is awash with propaganda, misinformation, and outright lies on all major issues. Can we fault President Putin for using the phrase as we have so often defined it in recent history?
American Exceptionalism – Neocon-PNAC View
Neocons of the previous George W. Bush administration perverted American exceptionalism to imply that we are different, better, more civilized, and more moral than the rest of the world. This view is clearly expressed by The Project For A New American Century, whose website remains at PNAC, embraced and adopted by Bush Cabinet members Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld. Their Neocon-PNAC view was that we won the Cold War and therefore earned the right to control and lead the World.
PNAC’s Statement of Principles:
- We need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
- We need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;
- We need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
- We need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.
The Future of American Exceptionalism
This Neocon-PNAC view that we are unique or superior in any way is offensive, obnoxious, arrogant, and wrong! The Neocons pushed this view to support immunity from International Law, despite existing treaties banning torture, extraordinary rendition, and preemptive war. I believe Mr. Putin referred to this Neocon-PNAC view, which we all now should agree is dangerous, because this is our most recent and repeated definition.
President Obama claims that he does not imply that we are superior; nevertheless, I believe he used American exceptionalism to pander to the far right (a mistake), knowing that he has never accepted their definition. We are approximately 6% of the world’s population. Why should we believe we have any greater rights or responsibilities than the rest of the earth’s inhabitants? It is not our right, duty, or obligation to lead and run the World, we only need to participate as equals with all others.
We need to throw this amorphous phrase “American exceptionalism,” into the scrap heap of history, and never attempt to take advantage of its known ambiguity. If we are the great country we claim we are, then we must always pursue peace first, and not worry about who gets to take credit. I applaud both Presidents Obama and Putin for working together to avoid any escalation in Syria.
Mark G Capolupo