If you have not read the editorial written to the American People by Vladimir Putin, you need to take a couple minutes right now and read it. It is located here.
It is clear that the absence of leadership on the part of Barack Obama has left a leadership vacuum on a world scale. But Putin’s OpEd was a well thought out letter to us, the American people, about the failures of Obama and his inability to see the bigger picture.
This piece was masterfully written by someone with a firm grasp of the English language. Perhaps these were, indeed, Putin’s thoughts, but the sharp jabs like:
Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”
Followed by passages like:
My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this.
Sandwiched between more jabs:
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.
Putin’s use of the phrase whatever the motivation is intriguing. So what would motivate a president to tell his people they are exceptional? And what does Putin really think is behind the use of the word exceptional?
Remember back when Obama was running for President of the World in 2008. He was going to change the world by making America a good world citizen and discontinuing the “Cowboy” mentality and brutality that has been America’s trademark for a good while now. In 2008, it was Obama’s intent to make the new America decidedly not exceptional in the eyes of the world. And now, Putin perhaps sees a weakened US president that has egg on his face with his “Red Line” comments on Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Swell Americans with pride and tell them we are exceptional so he can kill foreigners in the middle of a civil war.
Putin’s letter, notwithstanding the man’s brutal nature and history, was the most reasoned arguments I have seen on the subject of Syria and America’s involvement in general in everyone else’ business.
And while I cannot go so far as to say I trust Vladimir Putin, I am in 100% agreement with his assessment as written in the OpEd and I believe he has elevated himself above Obama as the de facto leader of the world. He properly expressed concerns for Israel, which is in a precarious position and apt to be the “whipping boy” of Syrian forces and Palestinians who see attacking Israel as a completely justified response to American aggression in Syria (no matter how incredibly small this “ballistic message” would be).
But the part of the letter that seems to have received the most attention – to the point of ignoring the wisdom of the rest of the piece was that last paragraph. And I wonder of Putin is rethinking adding this final dig at Obama (and America) given the fact that most of the response has ignored the good parts of the letter.
The last paragraph reads:
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.
I have had this discussion many times with my European friends, via email and in person over beers. Exceptionalism and Nationalism are seen as the vehicles Hitler used to spread his evil and poison over Europe. Most of Europe finds this type of talk distasteful at best and downright dangerous at worst.
But Americans have been taught that we are an exceptional nation and people my whole life. And I think that despite the European disdain for such an idea, it has been true most of my life. World War II was the pinnacle of this exceptionalism. And for a while after that.
But America stopped being exceptional when we began to purge God from the land.
We stopped being exceptional when we stopped encouraging the two parent “traditional marriage” family unit and pushed singer parenthood as the new normal.
We stopped being exceptional when we discouraged self pride in things like taking “handouts” and removed the “stigma” so welfare is not an embarrassment, but an entitlement to be celebrated.
We stopped being exceptional when we decided to value the convenience of a woman over the life of a child.
We stopped being exceptional when we removed the borders and allow anyone and everyone to come into the country and game the system.
We stopped being exceptional when we stopped caring about our neighbors. “How can I help” became “I don’t want to get involved”.
We stopped being exceptional when we turned to European Socialism which has ensured Europe would be anything but exceptional.
We stopped being exceptional when we began to see businesses as an arm of the government intended to provide benefits and “living wages” instead of making money.
We stopped being exceptional when we crushed innovation with regulation and government red tape.
But most of all, we stopped being exceptional when the press decided to throw it’s lot in with Socialism that has never made anyone exceptional.
Now I am not sure if I can trust Vladimir Putin to be honest and true to his word. But I know I can’t trust Obama to do the same.
America can return to being an exceptional nation, but not until politicians on both sides of the aisle begin to remember what it truly meant to be exceptional.