By now you may have seen that Russian President Vladimir Putin published an op-ed in the New York Times selling his Syria strategy involving the international community securing Syria’s chemical weapons stock.
Buried at the end of his piece, however, was his judo-style takedown of the idea of American exceptionalism.
I would … disagree with [President Obama] 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.
We can disagree over the origins of American exceptionalism. But to call the very concept into question, Putin should take into account these four pretty exceptional things:
1. We have a stellar constitution.
2. It includes this nifty section called Amendment I.
3. Amendment I states, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
4. Which ultimately is why we’re OK with the President of Russia publishing an op-ed hating on American exceptionalism in an American newspaper.
Oh, and a fifth thing: Even if the President of Russia hasn’t always demonstrated the same sort of tolerance.