A Side of Putin: American Exceptionalism

Alicé Leuchte | September 18, 2013
Drama Weekly, Issue 1 (Adapted)

On September 11, Russian President Putin published a message to the American people in the New York Times delineating some basic facts surrounding the Syrian situation:

The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence 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 goes on to summarize the various, multinational factions in the forefront of the Syrian conflict, but then goes off the rails from a public relations perspective. He addresses the complex idea of American “exceptionalism.”

While I believe Putin may have meant that the United States should not consider itself “above the law,” he struck something near and dear to the hearts of Americans. Many responses to Putin focused on this point of vanity, instead of the essential facts contained in his letter.

One such response came from a surprising source – former Senator DeMint, now President of the Heritage Foundation:

America is an exceptional nation—that is, one like no other, not just now but in history—because it is dedicated to the universal principle of human liberty. This is grounded in the truth that all men—not just Americans—are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights by their creator.

DeMint goes on to criticize Putin’s power, saying:

We understand… that in Russia today, the rule of law is easily ignored and that you’ve managed to remain in complete power since 2000, even though your country’s original constitution supposedly limited you to two consecutive terms.

Despite the perceived stab at America’s self-esteem or Putin’s track record, many are beginning to see Putin as a figure of peace and the rising leader of the “free world.” Someone even started a petition on the White House website advocating Obama give his Peace Prize to Putin:

Where as Mr. Obama made a sincere commitment to starting a war with Syria, engaging our military in unwanted conflict, and doing so without the support of his people we resolve that Mr. Obama should deliver the Nobel Peace prize given to him in 2009 to a man of Peace, the President of Russia, Mr. Putin.

It looks like we now have a “Side of Putin” to go along with our “Obama Drama.”