Putin Correct, “American Exceptionalism” is Dangerous

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

My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. Putin-TimeAnd I would rather disagree with a case he made on American Exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal. Vladimir V. Putin, President of The Russian Federation

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.

Sincerely,

Mark G Capolupo

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GravitySailor
Guest

Well I can’t read his mind, or see into his soul as W did, but it is fair to guess that he is much more concerned with his own southern flank than Syrian rebels (aka FAS,Free Syrian Army)

Dreama Fisher
Guest

SO,he is only looking after,hes own,,not worried of syians killing their own,with gas?

Dreama Fisher
Guest

what do you mean of this,,,Lucki,i thought you were my friend

GravitySailor
Guest

Fortunately we must communicate with all sovereign leaders, and Putin is in a key position to influence the Assad regime. At least lets see how things play out.

GravitySailor
Guest

That is exactly what he is trying to do, knowing that our bombing the Assad regime could place chemical weapons in the hands of Islamic extremists very close to the Russian border. It’s approx. 500 miles from NE Syria to Russia across eastern Turkey. And we already know that Caucuses are a mess despite their energy wealth.

GravitySailor
Guest

Not that simple I’m afraid. At that time the enemy was Communism, a legitimate fear. It was a choice between the lesser (at the time) of two evils. I’m quite sure faced with the same situation we would likely handle it differently however. Guess who we also supported while he was in Afghanistan fighting the Soviet invaders?

Blacktrakerman
Guest

PNAC didn’t define “American Exceptionalism,” according to Rush Limbaugh, he did. We live in an amazing world.

TX Voter with no ID
Guest

Why do people have such a hard time believing that Putin may be a reasonable man?

Lucky Kalia Sharma
Guest

americans are killers of innocent peoples they supported taliban in afghanistan in 1989 when russia fought against taliban

Dreama Fisher
Guest

do not fear you,,mr,Putin,,,take care of your own country

Jane Edgeworth
Guest

who gives a damn what that ass says anyway! I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him with him tied to a post!

Mari Bramhall
Guest

Good for Mr. Putin!!!

Mari Bramhall
Guest

…My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American Exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

GravitySailor
Guest

Soul. And what did W see?

GravitySailor
Guest

I hope this happened to no others

GravitySailor
Guest

Social Justice is another very ambiguous phrase, but I see no ties to “Socialism” in any definitions. Its about equality, human rights, freedom, liberty, the Rule of Law etc……see Rawls. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_justice
As for how we have defined “American Exceptionalism,” it was pretty neatly expressed by PNAC, that the US, not the UN or ICC should provide global leadership and enforcement.
http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm

Tari Cooper
Guest

“Social justice” is a measure of equality of outcome, or Socialism. And I always thought that “American Exceptionalism” referred to our system of Government, which though imperfect, allows us an unmatched level of individual freedom.

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