Thursday, September 12, 2013

Is America Exceptional?

Putin to US: 'Exceptional?' Nyet! -- Peter Grier, Christian Science Monitor

In a rare, direct message to Americans, Putin lays out his case against a US strike on Syria. Opposition extremists, not Assad, used poison gas, he says. Then, the kicker: America is not exceptional, and it's dangerous to think it is.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has an opinion piece on Syria in today’s New York Times that has official Washington buzzing.

The article argues against any US strike on Syria in retaliation for alleged chemical weapons use. Attacking without UN Security Council authorization would weaken the UN and ignore international law, writes Mr. Putin.

The Syrian civil war is not a battle for democracy, according to the Russian president. “There are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government,” he says.

Read more ....

My Comment: As to what is my take on American exceptionalism .... read the following.

Being one who grew up in the former Soviet Union .... and who now lives in Canada but travels to the U.S. all the time .... I think I have a certain perspective on American exceptionalism that I know that Russian President Putin does not have ... and .... I sometimes wonder .... if President Obama and most Americans still believe in.

American exceptionalism is not because America was and is made up of special people. Or (as some believe) that God has chosen the American people. It is certainly not because of it's national and international policies ... nor of the good deeds that Americans are always trying to do.

American exceptionalism is the following ..... throughout history mankind has always lived under (and been subjected to) despots and tyranny that made survival the primary goal of everyone .... with the exception of the rulers. But the founding of America broke .... for the first time .... this state of affairs. In short .... the U.S. was founded by men who believed that leaders must serve the people .... and not the other way around .... and to insure that this will not change a constitution was then set up and enshrined in law on how this government was to function .... and more importantly .... enshrining in law the freedom and liberty that individuals will have in such a nation..

Yup .... liberty and freedom codified by law is what made America exceptional .... not the power and might of it's government.

As to Putin's comments that God created us equal .... the framers of the constitution understood this .... hence enshrining in the constitution a political framework that was codified by law that acknowledges God's creation.

President Putin as a former communist does not understand this. President Obama .... when I listen to his comments on negative liberties .... certainly does not. And sadly .... most of the world certainly does not.

But people worldwide have always found this topic to be a fascinating one to talk about .... and in my travels to places in Asia and Europe I have always found myself getting into these discussions. Interestingly ....  these debates always ended when I make the following observation. Culturally .... Europe and Asia are centuries ahead of the U.S. .... if not more. Their history is rich with thousands of years of life experiences .... something that a young nation like America cannot even hope to compare to. But .... when looked at it from a political perspective .... America is the giant and the old wise man while all of these old nations are just juveniles struggling only now to attain those concepts of freedom and liberty that we in North America have take for granted for the past two centuries.

1 comment:

Sheerah said...

Wonderful derinition of American Exceptionallism. You are correct that few in America understand it, as is clear from the strange social mutations of the "exceptional" idea as witnessed in such activities as little league baseball games: no winners nor losers, but everyone is "exceptional" just for participating, regardless of performance or ability. Perhaps Vladimir thought THIS was what was meant by "American Exceptionalism", in which case he'd be correct - very dangerous to teach kids they can do no wrong because they're "exceptional"...