Dear President Putin:
Exceptional Means Unique, Not Better
I read with great interest the op-ed piece you wrote for the New York Times. Although your opinions are largely aimed at promoting the United Nations, at the expense of American sovereignty, I must say that your grasp of some points is better than that of most of our leaders, at least those that support firing missiles at Syria without delay.
You are quite correct to point out that by opposing the Assad regime the United States must necessarily align itself with groups that our own government has named as terrorist organizations.
It is also fair to say that the foreign policy of the United States in the last five years has been lees than successful. (How many Egyptians are pining for Mubarak, in lieu of the chaos they are experiencing today? How many Christians would be alive if The Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t emboldened by our Presidents policies?)
But I must take issue with your derision of the idea of American Exceptionalism.
Most of our current leaders don’t understand the idea of American Exceptionalism, and it certainly isn’t being taught to our children anymore, so I shouldn’t expect you to understand it.
The United States of America is not exceptional because we are better than anyone else; we are exceptional because we are unique.
More than two hundred and thirty years ago, our forefathers put in writing the idea that our rights come from a creator, not from those who “rule” us. These rights cannot be taken away; they are inalienable.
We allow the government to have the amount of power that we think it should have, and if the government abuses its power, we have the right to alter or abolish it and form a new government.
We have the right to pursue any occupation, live in any area, and to speak out freely against our government – without fear of being sent to the Gulag.
Although we have slipped some from these high ideals in recent years, and we certainly have no shortage of disagreements among ourselves, no other country on Earth has placed such power in the people as opposed to a ‘ruling’ class. Ever. I could go on, but hopefully you have a better understanding now.
Let me finish with a question for you: At what point in all of Russian history have your people had anything close to freedom like that?